Liz Densley describes the complications and pitfalls of keeping accurate records regarding the NHS pension scheme.
We’re now well into the season of preparing accounts and tax returns for GPs with self employed income, and by far the biggest problem area is (unsurprisingly) pension contributions. We are finding more and more that not all income is pensioned – either because a doctor chooses to drop out of the scheme for part of the period, or because they have worked more than 6 months for a practice or because they simply don’t get the locum B form in on time. From an accountant’s point of view, trying to tie up each invoice to a locum B, and check that the form was actually submitted and the contributions paid over, can be hugely time consuming. Just taking the GP’s word for it can be dangerous and cause problems later.
Evidence to protect from fraud
When a locum has charged the practice with employer contributions but not paid them over, they should return them to the practice (retaining them for personal gain is fraud). Some practices will renegotiate the fee so that the amount they have paid is agreed to be the full fee for the service and don’t expect the money back – but it’s important to have evidence of this to protect the locum should it ever be questioned.