GPs face hefty fines after pension tax change

GPs whose pensions have increased in value face 'hundreds of pounds' worth of accounting fees and possible fines due to changes to tax regulations, accountants have warned.

GPs whose pension value has risen by £50,000 this year will not have time to obtain certificates they need to file an accurate tax return, according to the Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants (AISMA). They will instead have to pay for an estimate costing hundreds of pounds, and face interest and fines if the estimate is inaccurate, said AISMA vice-chairman, Deborah Wood.

New regulations from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) state if a person's pension increases by £50,000, they must obtain a valuation certificate no later than 6 October.

But Ms Wood said this would require GPs to complete their accounts, tax returns and pension certificates by 6 June. But she said this was 'impossible' for GPs with practice year ends of 31 March. 'No exemption has been made for the GP pension scheme,' she said.

Full-time GPs aged 50 or over, particularly those paying added-year pension contributions, are most likely to be affected by the changes, she said.

'It's not too difficult for GPs that have been in the service for some time to trigger this threshold. Anyone contributing £20-£30,000 a year is likely to be affected by this,' she said.

The proposed changes are 'not fit for purpose for GPs', said Ms Wood. An HMRC spokesman said time limits would be extended in the first year to help GPs.

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