New statistics compiled by the HM Revenue and Customs have revealed that dentists annual taxable income has fallen for the third year in a row.
According to HMRC, the average income inEnglandandWaleswas £99,600 for the year 2011/12, down from £102,100 the previous year, and £107,700 in 2009/10.
This represents a fall of 7.5% over the past three years. Associates income (performer only) also fell, but by only 2.7%. However their earnings were 30% lower at £61,600 in the most recent year.
The fall in net income is largely due to an increase in expenses, as gross earnings have remained relatively stable. According to the figures the percentage of gross earnings taken up by expenses accounted for 66.8%, up 3.4 pc from 63.4%.
The smaller drop in associates’ net income is largely down to the fact they have less expenses.
Despite a populist image of super-rich dentists, this is not borne out by the figures. In fact the report reveals that 62.8% of dentists earned a taxable income from NHS and private dentistry of less then £75,000 in 2011/12, compared to 59.8% in 2010/11.
Only 1% of dentists earned a taxable income of £300,000 or more, while four out of five dentists earned less than £100,000.
Dentists working under a PDS contract, which includes orthodontists, had a taxable income of £96,100, compared with those working under a GDS contract, who took home £71,900.
Commenting on the figures, Dr John Milne, chairman of the BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee, said: “These figures provide further evidence of the financial challenge facing dental practices across the England and Wales and underline what the BDA has repeatedly stressed about the importance of governments properly support Health Service dentistry.
“This is the four year in a row that we have seen incomes reduced and it is becoming increasingly untenable for practices to cope. I urge the health departments to look very seriously at these figures, and act to protect viability and the provision of high-quality care to patients that the erosion of funding we are seeing is jeopardising.”