Possible changes for associate dentists

Category: HealthcareTaxation - Posted On: Oct 20 2021

Many dentists in general practice work as associates, who pay a licence fee to a practice for use of the premises, equipment, materials and staff under an agreed contract with a practice.

The British Dental Association (BDA) have a standard contract for this relationship and HMRC use this to operate a concession that automatically classifies them as self-employed and means their earnings are treated as trading income.

In April 2018, HMRC wrote to associates dentists about a review they were holding into their self-employed status. The review found that in many instances the standard contract was replaced with a bespoke contract and where the standard contract was used, the terms were not adhered to in practice.

As a result of the review, HMRC have now updated their Employment Status Manual (ESM4030) to state that as of 6 April 2023, the concession will be withdrawn and the employment status of all associate dentists, both new and existing, will need to be assessed using the usual employment tests.

We would advise associate dentists to take this opportunity, in advance of April 2023, to check their status using HMRC’s CEST toolkit and to review their daily working practices as there may be a more formalised requirement for practices to check the employment status of associates.

If you’d like to find out more information or get advice regarding your employment status, please get in touch with our EQ Healthcare specialists by calling one of our offices or emailing healthcare@eqaccountants.co.uk.