Associate dentists see changes to self-employment guidance for current tax year


The guidelines on dentists’ work status have changed for the tax year beginning April 6, 2023. You can access HMRC’s updated guidance here.

Until now, HMRC has stated that all associate dentists are self-employed without the requirement for significant evidence. The particular passage that establishes this fact in writing is a reference to the British Dental Association (BDA).

However, this passage has now been removed from the Employment Status Manual, which means there will be no written exception for dentists. HMRC insists that this won’t change anything in practise; references to third parties are simply being removed from their instructions.

The BDA has, however, recommended that all associate dentists should review their contracts to ensure they conform to the general rules over self-employment.

The vast majority of the UK’s many dentists work as associates who rent facilities and pick when, and what kind of jobs, they undertake. Because these are significant markers of self-employment, HMRC had stated that many of these dentists will continue to be classified as self-employed.

However, dentists who were formerly self-employed are being urged to complete a Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) examination to prove it. In addition, HMRC has said that no retrospective inquiries would be conducted due to the changes in the guidance’s wording.

As a result, it is unlikely that the updated guidance will have a significant impact on the majority of dentists’ tax bills. However, we firmly believe that the best advice for associate dentists is to review their contracts and conduct and document a CEST assessment. This will ensure that you have taken every step possible to safeguard yourself in a worst-case scenario.

If you would like to discuss your tax affairs, contact JW Hinks on 0121 456 0190. A number of members in our professional and experienced tax team have particular specialisations in medical and dental taxation, and will be happy to help you ensure you are conforming with all the relevant regulations, while not paying more tax than you need to.

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