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As you will be all too aware, doctors across the NHS are being handed unexpected additional bills resulting from pensions tax charges. These Annual and Lifetime Allowance taxation rules are leading some of our most experienced doctors to retire, reduce their workload and stop covering vacancies.
In August, the BMA revealed the extent of the problem facing doctors and the NHS with a survey of GP and hospital members showing – 31% have already reduced their work commitments due to pension tax charges and of those who haven’t already, a further 37% plan to do so in the next 12 months.
This is not an issue that only affects our consultant colleagues but ourselves, and it is more important than ever that we act. Therefore I am delighted to announce that the BMA Goldstone Pensions Modeller, launched earlier this year, is now available to download for SAS doctors on the 2008 contract.
It will help you model your pension for future years and covers:
For those of you on a pre-2008 contract, you can select ‘turn off pay progression’ within the modeller and manually include pay rises in order to receive a calculation.
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.
Using the tool is a vital way for you to protect yourself. Alongside this, the BMA is continuing to lobby on your behalf, and while the issue has yet to be fixed some progress has been made. Firstly, the Government has announced a new consultation to consider full flexibility following the BMA’s warnings that its previous consultation on a 50:50 basis was not acceptable. While the new consultation is not perfect it does demonstrate that the BMA’s message is cutting through with Ministers.
You can find many more resources and information on the BMA website. If you do receive an unexpected tax bill, we understand that it 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.
This is important issue for us all. We do not know when we may be affected by these punitive tax charges. Please do act to protect yourself by using the BMA Goldstone Pensions Modeller.
Amit Kochhar is the BMA SAS doctors committee co-chair
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