Frequently Asked Questions
How can you reduce the tax bill for each of the partners?
As part of the service for those partners that also wish us to look after their personal accounts, we would have a one-to-one session to talk about their own circumstances, and to see what might be suitable. This may include having a separate entity such as their own company with or without other family members. We provide our clients with regular helpful updates.
What support will you offer to interact with the PCSE system (GP pensions and income system)?
We have our own registration with PCSE to help you with the submissions and are able to assist with any questions arising from PCSE. We are able to contact the CEO of Capita (who oversees the operation of PCSE) if necessary. We can access your monthly statements and estimate of profits online directly when give access. Laurence Slavin represented the accounting profession in the Pensions Subcommittee back in 2004 together with the BMA, DoH, Treasury, etc in the design of the Type 1 certificates following the 2004 Contract. We are completely familiar with the certificate and process. Katie Collin also works closely with practices and PCSE contacts to resolve ongoing issues that both practices and partners have.
What preparations do we need for the March 2023/24 transition to a new accounting period?
With your 30 September year-end, the transition year for you is the accounting period from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2024. At the very least, we are giving our clients an expectation of the likely effect of the shift in year-end (see broadcast 5 November 2021). We are currently setting up strategies with our clients with non-March year ends to minimise the effect of the transition. We have an open channel to the HMRC Team Leader responsible for the introduction of Basis Period Reform.
You can also find our broadcast about the impact of basis period reform here.
What are your standard Service Level Agreement response times?
We would expect you to have a response within 24 hours to most questions, if a response would take longer, you would be advised how long the expected response time will be.
What is your standard SLA offer e.g. services, frequency, liaising with partners/practice business manager, etc, and dates?
Our work has shifted in recent years from what might have been expected as the annual meeting with tax and drawings projections to regular contact with advices as needed. Within that, our standard offer would be:
- Preparation of annual accounts – for a 30 Sept year-end we would expect to have the accounts completed by 31 Jan following year-end
- Meeting to discuss annual accounts – by 31 Jan following year-end to adjust any tax payments on account
- Meeting to discuss projected drawings and tax liabilities – by 31 Jan following year-end
- Preparing revisions to drawings as needed
- Providing Benchmarking analysis for the practice – with accounts meeting – before 31 Jan following 30 September year-end
- Providing an estimate of partners Lifetime Allowance – where we have the TRS – in attached drawings projection – as needed
- Providing an estimate of partners Annual Allowances and consideration of Scheme Pays – in attached drawings projection – by the deadline with revisions as needed
- Preparation of Partnership tax return – before the deadline
- For individual partners for whom we act, the standard SLA includes a one-to-one meeting to discuss their finances and the preparation of their tax return and expenses claim – usually at the meeting to discuss the accounts – by 31 Jan after 30 Sept year-end
- Preparation of the partners superannuation certificate – before the deadline
- Dealing with queries arising from the superannuation certificate as needed
- The option to take out Tax Investigation Insurance with us
- A detailed Pension Information Report – as requested
- Review of the pensions for salaried GPs, and other staff – As requested
- Running training courses (N2P, finance training) – as requested
- Considering the use of alternative vehicles for business operation – limited companies, corporate partnerships, dividend policy, shares ownership, directors’ responsibilities
- Consideration of protection of VAT exemption
- Ongoing business advice and guidance
- Acting as an expert witness in disputes around practice finance
What experience do you have providing accounting services to GP practices and PCN lead practices?
We act for around 200+ practices at the moment and 60+ PCNs. Laurence Slavin acted as the accountancy representative to the NHS for 10 years, working on the technical implications of the Review Body Process. He is the author of “How to Manage Your GP Practice” published by Wiley/Blackwell and BMJ Books. Laurence has worked with GPs for more than 30 years. Katie Collin is the Vice Chairman of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales Healthcare Community. She has worked with GPs for over 5 years and acts for PCNs all over the country. Our Tax partner Anil Sookharry has worked with Laurence for more than 25 years.
Explain what are the liabilities partners need to be aware of in relation to their personal liability regarding membership of the PCN?
This would depend on whether the PCN is incorporated or not. If not, then the liability of the PCN as effectively a joint operation would pass through the PCN through the practice to the partners themselves. If, as a lead practice, you are employing the ARRS staff rather than having joint employment contracts, then there is a direct liability from which you would have the ability to reclaim from the other members. As an incorporated entity, there is protection as the liability is limited, but the directors have a fiduciary responsibility and liability to the company and it would be sensible to have directors liability insurance.
How can these partner liabilities be minimised?
See above – incorporation and directors insurance where appropriate. We have produced webinars on PCN incorporation which detail the intricacies of PCN incorporation, and also have detailed guides on the potential impacts and required steps.
What advice can you give regarding the premises?
- If owner occupiers – advice on notional rent values
- Ditto – effect of changing ownership
- Capital Gains Tax and Business Asset Disposal Relief (formerly Entrepreneur Relief)
- If a leasehold relationship exists – then the use of sinking fund, terms of the lease, minimising the risks attaching to the obligations of the lease
What is your experience of dealing with Xero as a software package?
We have a high-profile relationship with Xero – we are Platinum partners, which is a high level and rare status. Xero is our preferred choice for an accounting system for our clients. We offer:
- Training on the use of Xero
- Workarounds for extracting PCSE statements, payroll into Xero
- Bookkeeping Services
- Catch-Up service where the bookkeeping is in arrears and the practice doesn’t have the time or resource
- Clean-Up service where the bookkeeping contains errors that need resolving
What support will you provide to the practice business manager?
We pride ourselves on being available to our clients. The business manager will be able to contact the dedicated partner, the dedicated accounts manager, and the dedicated tax manager when necessary.
What is your awareness of the ICS and the implications for the practice?
We are aware of the concept of ICS bringing together the health sector, local government, and other relevant parties, but there is limited practical experience to say how this will develop. We work across a number of ICSs across the country and so are familiar with the different income streams and financial implications for different areas.
Will you provide any tools/software to help the practice monitor their ongoing performance?
Yes. We use benchmarking and depending on the contract we have with the client we can develop budgets in Xero and produce periodic (monthly, quarterly, etc) reports in Xero comparing budgeted performance to actual.
Can you help to redraft partnership agreements – costs and timescales?
We would expect partnership agreements to be written by the practice solicitor – we would want to review the draft agreement to ensure the clauses are appropriate and make sense!
How many are in the team who would be given the account to look after?
There would be three key contacts: the partner with overall responsibility, the accounts manager who will facilitate the production of the financial statements and superannuation certificates/estimates, and the tax manager who will coordinate the tax returns, the scheme pays elections and pension information. In turn, they will have a team supporting them.
Who would be the account manager for the team at the accountancy practice?
All our account managers are highly trained and highly qualified (NB this is not commonly the case). We would select an account manager best suited to your needs after we have had a fuller discussion.
How much would your services cost and what would this cover?
Our fees are ultimately based on the time we spend looking after our clients. Once we have agreed on the level of service required we will provide a formal quotation.
Pensions calculations for both GPs and salaried GPs ongoing.
Our current fees for the preparation of the annual Type 1 certificate and dealing with resulting queries is £275 + vat and £160 + vat for the Type 2 certificate.