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HMRC internal manual

Employment Status Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Particular occupations: dentists

Full-time or part-time appointments within the National Health Service are generally offices or employments (see Mitchell and Edon v Ross 40TC11).

A dentist who is not employed within the National Health Service (NHS) by a Health Authority but who provides general dental services is chargeable on his or her professional receipts as trading income and liable for Class 2/4 NICs. A dental practitioner may be included in the General Dental List only if an undertaking has been given to provide a general dental service as a principal. In consequence a dental surgery may serve a number of dentists each responsible professionally as a principal, with the common services, receptionists and nursing staff for the surgery being provided by one of the dentists.

The contract between the dentist providing the common services and the other dentists working on the premises may be either a contract for services or a contract of employment.

For tax purposes only, any emoluments from a part-time office or employment may in practice be treated as professional receipts chargeable under trading income rules where EIM03000 onwards applies and where

  • the dentist so wishes, and
  • the emoluments are small in comparison to the other professional receipts which are assessable as trading income.

‘Associate’ Dentists

It should be noted that there are standard forms of agreement for ‘associate’ dentists which have been approved by the British Dental Association (BDA) and the Dental Practitioners Association (DPA). These agreements relate to dentists practising as associates in premises run by another dentist. Where these agreements are used and the terms are followed, the income of the associate dentist is assessable under trading income rules and not as employment income. In these circumstances the dentist is liable for Class 2/4 NICs and not Class 1 NICs.

The NHS General Dental Services Contract, which came into force from 1 April 2006, provides for less fluctuation in Associate Dentist’s income. However, providing the Associate Dentist continues to be responsible for paying their share of laboratory fees etc for work relating to their patients and other terms of the standard agreement are followed, the above guidance will still apply.

‘Assistant’ Dentists

An ‘assistant’ dentist is a defined term under the National Health Service (General Dental Services) Regulations 1992. It means ‘any dentist employed either whole-time or part-time under a contract of service by another dentist for the purpose of providing general dental services on behalf of that other dentist’. Consequently, any earnings from such an engagement will be chargeable to tax as employment income and subject to Class 1 NICs.