Doctors Tax Rebate

How would you react if you were told that you may be overpaying tax in the order of hundreds of pounds? Many doctors, surgeons and other healthcare workers may be in exactly that position, due to a lack of awareness about their entitlement to claim tax relief for employment-related expenses.

As a medical professional, you are likely to be paying at least several hundred pounds a year in professional fees – including your annual General Medical Council fee and British Medical Association subscription. Depending on your medical specialism, you may also be paying fees to other professional bodies such as the Royal College of General Practitioners or the Royal College of Physicians.

What many doctors and other healthcare workers may not realise is that certain expenses – including professional and union fees – incurred in connection with your employment are eligible for tax relief from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). In short, that means that if you haven’t specifically claimed for these deductions, then you may be paying too much tax to HMRC each year.

Expenses that may be eligible for tax relief include:

  • General Medical Council (GMC) registration and annual retention fees
  • British Medical Association (BMA) subscription fees
  • Specialist royal college, society and association membership fees, including:
    • Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP)
    • Royal College of Physicians of London (RCP)
    • Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE)
    • Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS)
    • Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd)
    • Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath)
    • Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery in Great Britain and Ireland (SCTS)
    • British Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS)

 The above list is by no means exhaustive, and your individual eligibility may depend on whether or not your employer already has an arrangement in place whereby they engage with HMRC directly to obtain these reliefs on behalf of their employees.

Other expenses may also be liable for tax relief under HMRC rules, such as fees incurred in connection with mandatory employment-related training. In 2013 the RCSEd negotiated with HMRC to make registration fees paid by surgical trainees to the Joint Committee on Surgical Training (JCST) tax deductible. The tax authority’s decision to make training-related registration fees eligible for tax relief also covers fees paid to the Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board (JRCPTB).

It’s especially important for trainee and junior doctors to be aware of their entitlements to tax relief. The early years of your medical career often represent a period of considerable financial expenditure, and as many medical students are now graduating with increasing levels of debt, it makes sound financial sense to get to grips with your tax relief rights so you can be sure you’re not paying more than you need to.

HMRC rules on tax deductible expenditure aren’t always straightforward, but it’s worth taking the time to understand which expenses you may be able to claim against. Even laundry costs for workplace uniforms can be claimed, yet many medical professionals never take the time or effort to seek a tax rebate. With many doctors and surgeons potentially overpaying hundreds of pounds in tax each year, the question is: can you afford not to make a claim?