Financial assistance for locum GPs in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic

30th March 2020 by Liz Densley

Financial assistance for locum GPs in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic

Most of you will have read the headlines about the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme and the Self-employment Income Support Scheme, but how does it apply to GPs whose income has been affected?

  • The new Self-employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is for the self-employed, including members of a partnership.
  • This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your average trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next three months (April 2020 to June 2020). This may be extended if needed.
  • You must have submitted a 2018/19 Tax Return to be eligible and must still be trading in 2019/20 (or would be, if you did not have to stop due to COVID-19).
  • You must also intend to trade in 2020/21.
  • You must have lost trading profits as a result of COVID-19.
  • It is only available if average annual taxable earnings are below £50,000. This is based on an average over the last 3 years (2016/17, 2017/18 & 2018/19). If you have not filed Tax Returns for 3 years then the Government will take the average based on what has been submitted for a shorter period.
  • More than half of your income must come from self-employment.
  • Anybody who started self-employment after 5 April 2019 will not be able to claim.
  • The scheme will be available from the beginning of June 2020 and will be back-dated three months to 1 March 2020. It will be paid in one lump sum.
  • HMRC will contact those eligible directly. You do not need to apply.

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So who is it likely NOT to apply to?

  • Higher earning doctors – over £50,000 per annum (averaged over 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19). This will include most GP partners as well as full time freelance GPs.
  • GPs who qualified after 5 April 19 and only started freelance work in 19-20.
  • GPs who switched from salaried to freelance during 19-20.
  • GPs who are also salaried and more than half their income comes from their salaried post.
  • GPs who should have, but didn’t, complete an 18-19 tax return (there is a short window of opportunity to do a late return if applicable)
  • GPs who stopped self-employment during 2019-20

There is also a separate scheme for employees who would otherwise have been laid off – but the Government has said that organisations who are receiving public funding specifically to provide services necessary to respond to COVID-19 are not expected to furlough staff. So that scheme will not be available for salaried doctors.

What other relief is available?

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