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All of us will be very well aware that hard-working consultants are being landed with huge and unexpected additional tax bills resulting from Annual Allowance charges on any pension growth they may have had. More and more evidence is emerging of the impact on our profession – our recent survey has found that over 30% of our colleagues had received such a charge over the past two years and we’ll be releasing findings from our most recent annual allowance survey in the coming weeks.
As a consequence of this it is more important than ever that we, as the BMA, and you act with urgency. It’s crucial that we both support you to understand the AA problem and how it affects you individually; in addition to lobbying hard for the Government to make the necessary changes to stop this absurd situation from causing further damage to staff and impacting on patient care.
To help you understand the AA impact on you I’m delighted to introduce the new BMA Goldstone Pensions Modeller. The Modeller will make it easier for you to calculate your personal risk and is a benefit of your BMA membership.
It is designed to help you model your pension for future years and covers:
The modeller will also allow you to see the effects of the most important protection from Annual Allowance charges available to you – decreasing the amount of work you do. You will see that decreasing the amount of work you do will not only help protect you from Annual Allowance charges but may also give you a larger pension at retirement. View the slides for an illustration of the circumstances where that applies.
The Modeller works well, but its accuracy depends on the accuracy of the data inputs. The modeller requires some time and diligence to fill in. You will need to carefully read the detailed instructions or watch the accompanying videos to understand how to use it as well as collate the information needed to fill it in and get an accurate output. It’s a complex tool because it is unravelling a complex problem.
Since August last year we have been warning government of the of the perfect storm they have created that is forcing the most experience doctors to retire, reduce their workload, abandon leadership positions and stop covering vacancies. Through our letters to the Chancellor and Prime Minister and in numerous meetings with officials from NHS England, NHS Employers and the Department of Health and Social Care we have been clear that this a problem of the Government’s making and only decisive action on their part will stop the potentially disastrous impact this issue may have.
There are several other things that you can do to help protect yourself and assist us in our campaign for change:
And do not suffer in silence. The impact of unexpected tax bills can cause stress and anxiety, which is why the BMA offers 24/7 counselling services as well as peer support, giving you the opportunity to speak in confidence to a fellow doctor. To find out more contact 0330 123 1245 or visit the BMA website.
Lastly – to reiterate – all of us need to act on this issue. All full-time consultants and many part-time consultants will be affected by this punitive tax charge at some stage in their career. This is not something that will only affect older consultants or those who take on large amounts of additional work. Please act to protect yourself now and use the BMA Goldstone Pensions Modeller to clarify your personal circumstances.
Rob Harwood is Chair of the BMA consultants committee
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