Dr Surina Chibber from My Locum Manager shares her essential tips to maximising your finances as a locum GP plus keep reading for your exclusive access to an upcoming online financial masterclass you cannot afford to miss!
Managing your locum finances needn’t be as overwhelming as one often expects. One of the biggest differences when working as locum is that instead of deductions being automatically taken from your monthly salary, you must manage your invoices, tax and pension contributions yourself. It is also essential to consider income protection and plan your finances so that you can build wealth and security.
We spoke with Dr Chibber who is a locum GP and co-founder of the popular locum software www.MyLocumManager.com. My Locum Manager was designed to easily take care of all the financial administration that can often overwhelm busy GPs, from invoicing and pension forms to tax. Dr Chibber shares her essential tips to maximising your finances as a locum GP.
Tip 1. Deciding between Sole Trader vs Limited Company
This is the key question for all self-employed GPs. If you are planning on maintaining your NHS pension then you would register as a sole trader with the HMRC.
If you no longer wish to contribute to your NHS pension, and if you are earning above a certain threshold you may consider operating as a limited company. It can be a more efficient way of reducing tax bills and national insurance contributions. Accountancy fees will be higher. Your decision to forgo your NHS pension can be a costly one if you don’t get the right advice based on your circumstances.
Tip 2. Staying on top of your pension contributions
As a sole trader, to pay into your NHS pension you must complete a pension form A and B. Form A is completed for each invoiced session. Form B summarises all pensionable pay received that month. It is completed monthly and sent to the pensions’ office with a payment of your calculated contributions. You cannot have pension income paid from an agency or for private work undertaken. There is a 10-week deadline for declaring NHS pensionable income. Your pension contributions are also tax deductible therefore it is imperative you keep on track of the contributions you have made over a tax year. My Locum Manager effortlessly prepares all of your forms automatically and tracks every contribution made, so it ensures you maximise your tax efficiency.
Tip 3. Tax essentials
The tax year runs from 6th April to 5th April. You are required to file a tax return each year. The deadline for submitting your tax return online is 31st of January of the following year. Two tax payments are due each year by the 31st of January and 31st of July. It is imperative you keep money aside for your tax bill.
In order to complete a tax return accurately you will need to start keeping proper records of both your income and your expenses.
These records must be kept for a minimum of five years. If you undergo a tax investigation at any point then you would be required to submit these records to the HMRC.
Tip 4. Expenses and mileage
To be as tax efficient as possible with your hard-earned income ensure you have a good accountant and that you record all tax deductible expenses. Expenses incurred for the business can be claimed as long as they meet the HMRC’s criteria of being ’wholly and exclusively’ for the business. Typical expenses that can be claimed include indemnity payments, professional subscriptions, exams, courses, medical equipment and accountant fees. Tax relief is also available on pension payments, phone, internet and office consumables. Ensure that you should also record any expenses for business use of your car. This includes fuel costs, insurance, breakdown cover and MOT. A comprehensive list of tax deductible expenses can be found on the resources section of My Locum Manager. Using a software system like www.MyLocumManager.com is an effective way for busy locums to manage their finances. It can be a time-saving and efficient way to do all your record keeping, log receipts and expenses. Added benefits include that your business mileage is automatically calculated, and time-consuming pension calculations are automatically done for you.
Tip 5. Getting the right advice
It can be challenging to know where to get objective advice from experts that understand the medical profession and the complexities of the pension scheme. It is so important to be fully informed in order to confidently make important financial decisions regarding your pension and savings.
WEBINAR: ESSENTIAL FINANCIAL TIPS FOR LOCUM GPs
To help answer your questions and get up to speed with the building blocks of financial planning for GPs, join us for an exclusive webinar with Phil Bowler from Chase de Vere Medical and Dr Surina Chibber, Co-founder of My Locum Manager on the 30th of January at 8pm. This webinar will cover the benefits of the NHS pension, how to protect and build wealth, private pensions and investment basics. Places are limited and there will be the opportunity to engage in a live Q&A to help you get the answers you need.
Reserve your seminar place here.
Dr Surina Chibber is a sessional GP in South West London and co-founder of www.MyLocumManager.com
Investments can go up and down in value, so you could get back less than you put in.
Content correct at time of writing and is intended for general information only and should not be construed as advice.