What do we know so far about the help available for dentists?

COVID-19 Help for Dentists

28 Mar 2020
Sophie Kwiatkowski
A 10 minute read
by Sophie Kwiatkowski

Coronavirus and the Dental industry - what we know!

Here at PFM Dental our message hasn’t changed even in this time of crisis. We are here to help all our clients and support you and your businesses in these uncertain times.

We are keeping on top of information being released by both the government and the NHS, and will be keeping the website and our Instagram page updated with guidance as soon as it is made available to us.

So here is what we know so far:

Self-employed persons

On the 26th March, the Chancellor announced his financial support package for self-employed individuals. Further details are expected to be announced to enable us to understand how the scheme will work in reality, but the key points were:

1.Direct cash grants will be equal to 80% of profits, up to a maximum of £2,500/month for three months (March, April and May). This is the same maximum limit that was given to employed staff under the Job Retention Scheme announced earlier this week.

2. It is only available to those whose self-employed income makes up more than 50% of their taxable income.

3.It is also only available to those with trading profits of less than £50,000 per year. The scheme will be open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19 or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19.

4.The grant is available even if you are continuing to work.

5.Finally, it is only available to those who are already in self-employment.

Other points announced:

  • If you have for some reason not submitted your 2018/19 tax return, the government have given you up to 23rd April 2020 to submit this so that you are still eligible for the scheme.

  • If you are an individual member of a partnership, you may still be eligible for the grant if you satisfy all the conditions above.

So, how will this work?

HMRC will identify eligible taxpayers from existing information and contact them directly with guidance on how to apply.

The announcement states that individuals should not contact HMRC now and that HMRC will invite applications once the scheme is operational.

Those eligible will be able to apply directly to HMRC for the grant.

The application will be online, and the cash will be paid direct into the applicant’s bank account.

Grants will be paid in a single lump sum installment covering all 3 months (March to May) and will start to be paid at the beginning of June.

So, what can I do before June?

The government has made it known that self-employed persons will still be able to access other government support such as business continuity loans and universal credit.

Tax implications

  • The July 2020 payment on account has been deferred to January 2021. You do not need to apply for this, it has been deferred automatically.
  • Any grants received by the government will be taxable income.

Outstanding issues

We feel there are a number of outstanding questions that need answering:

1. How does this work for people that have registered as being self-employed during the 2019/20 tax year?

2. If your average earnings over 3 years amounted to, for example, £52,000 – does this mean you receive no support?

3. How does this work for the dental industry given the NHS announcements about contracts?

4. If you were self-employed in previous years, but have now stopped self-employment – what does that mean for you?

The BDA have sent a letter to the Chancellor asking them to clarify a number of points from the announcement and asked him to look at measures to assist dentists whose average annual earnings are just above the £50,000 threshold.

We will keep our clients updated as soon as more information becomes available.