HMRC have decided to remove the current concession that treats all Associate Dentists as self-employed from 6 April 2023. Instead, they will have to use the ordinary tests for employment to decide whether they are employed or self-employed.

Associate Dentists are those who do not own their own practice. Instead, they pay a licence fee to the practice for use of the surgery, equipment etc. and work under an agreed contract with the practice.

The British Dental Association (BDA) have a standard contract for these relationships, which gives the Associate Dentist a reasonable degree of autonomy and control. It is on the basis of this standard contract that HMRC operated a concession that saw these dentists automatically classified as self-employed and their earnings treated as trading income. 

HMRC recently undertook a review of the employment status of a number of Associate Dentists and found that:

  • The standard contract wasn't always used, being replaced with bespoke contracts.
  • The standard contract was used, but in practice, the terms were not adhered to.

As a result of the review, HMRC have updated their Employment Status Manual (ESM4030) to state that as of 6 April 2023, the concession will be withdrawn and the employment status of all Associate Dentists, both new and existing, will need to be assessed using the usual employment tests.

Useful guides on this topic

Doctors and Dentists: What expenses can I claim?
What expenses can doctors and dentists claim for tax purposes? Are there special tax and accounting rules? What are the rules for VAT?

Employment Status & detailed checklist
Why is it important to check my employment status? What tests should I use? What is the recent caselaw?

External links

Employment Status Manual (ESM4030)


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