Partners could be cheaper than salaried GPs after tax change

Practices may find it is cheaper to take on a partner than to employ a salaried GP after changes in tax rules that took effect from 6 April, according to GPC guidance.

Dr Watson: the trend towards practices hiring more salaried GPs and fewer partners after the 2004 GMS contract came in has begun to fade
Dr Watson: the trend towards practices hiring more salaried GPs and fewer partners after the 2004 GMS contract came in has begun to fade

Salaried GPs cost practices around £90,000 per year to employ, the guidance says. This is based on an average salary of £71,000, plus a 12.8 per cent national insurance contribution and 14% employer’s superannuation contribution.

Average income per partner in England for 2008/9 was £105,300 including all private earnings. But for non-dispensing GPs the figure was £95,900 and rising expenses have pushed this down since that date, the GPC said.

Practices employing salaried GPs may have a higher liability for costs if salaried employees are off sick or go on maternity leave, the guidance said.

From 6 April, a 50% income tax rate on income over £150,000 came in. Meanwhile, the personal allowance, which for 2010/11 means tax is not paid on the first £6,475 earned, is gradually withdrawn for those whose net income exceeds £100,000.

The GPC advice said this means it may become worthwhile for high-earning GPs to cut their income by taking on another partner.

GPC member Dr Nigel Watson said the trend towards practices hiring more salaried GPs and fewer partners after the 2004 GMS contract came in has begun to fade.

‘We’ve noticed in the counties Wessex LMCs covers that there are more partnerships being advertised,’ he said. ‘People are looking at taking on partners.’

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