TaxAug 4 2020

Govt moves tax allowance deadline for NHS staff

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Govt moves tax allowance deadline for NHS staff

The government has given NHS workers an extra six months to settle their annual allowance liabilities via their pension scheme to avoid any unexpected tax bills.

The NHS Business Services Authority confirmed the voluntary scheme pays deadline for the tax year 2018/19 has been extended until March 31, 2021 in order to support frontline workers who may struggle to pay an unexpected tax bill during this time.

Back in May this deadline had already been extended by three months to October 2020.

The NHS Business Services Authority said it was “sympathetic to the situation that NHS staff currently find themselves in during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and is keen to support members of the NHS Pension Scheme (England and Wales) who are front line healthcare workers”.

The deadline is the date by which GPs who want to have an annual allowance pension tax liability settled by way of scheme pays must have submitted their election form.

Scheme pays allows savers to settle charges of more than £2,000 through the pension fund without needing to find funds upfront.

Quilter had previously called on the government to extend this deadline by six months and also suggested there should be a wider NHS scheme pays deadline, which would allow members to make retrospective elections within a four-year period.

Graham Crossley, head of development for Quilter’s medical advice business, said: “Sorting out your pension is often at the bottom of people’s admin lists and even those with substantial time on their hands may struggle to get to it. 

“Members of the NHS pension scheme are likely to have less time than most and in many cases are more likely to need to take a look at the potential tax implications of their pension on a year to year basis.”

He added: “It’s good to see the scheme pays deadline has been reviewed again and will be extended till the end of March 2021 giving members of the scheme a suitable amount of time to figure out if they need to avail of it."

The taper issue

The tapered annual allowance gradually reduces the allowance for those on high incomes, meaning they are more likely to suffer an annual tax charge on contributions and a lifetime allowance tax charge on their benefits.

The rules have forced senior clinicians and other high earning public sector workers to either leave their pension scheme, cut down on their working hours or retire early to avoid punitive tax bills.