Nathan Poole FCCA
Nathan Poole FCCA

In the build-up to the Autumn Budget on October 27th, UK dentists might have experienced a mix of hopes and fears. For practice-owners committed to the NHS, there was hope of some dedicated funding to help the profession improve access. This funding did not materialise and the British Dental Association shared its disappointment promptly (1).

Practices in areas where business rates are high and any corporate chains might additionally have been hoping for a cut to business rates. Unfortunately for them, the cuts were limited to the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors.

Dentists working privately, either partly or wholly, might have been concerned that Chancellor Rishi Sunak would tinker with Business Asset Disposal Relief, a measure which reduces the capital gains tax paid when business assets are sold, and that he might abolish or reduce the higher rate tax relief on pensions.

Reductions to either would have affected some of our dentist clients and we had advised them accordingly. We predicted the Chancellor might want to replenish the Treasury coffers due to the unexpected costs associated with the pandemic, including funding furlough. But it seemed he was determined to give businesses little to complain about – he even touted tax cuts in the future.

Only one change might impact some practice-owners and this was the announcement that the National Living Wage (NLW) is to go up by 6.6% to £9.50 an hour for over 23s. This follows on from the increase in National Insurance arising from the announcement of the Health and Social Care levy earlier this year and which impacted the staffing costs of business owners. In reality, most of our clients already pay above the minimum wage, believing that their staff share in the responsibility for patient care and should be remunerated accordingly.

We are particularly pleased to note  the deadline for the payment of Capital Gains Tax on the sale of second homes has been extended to 60 days. In April 2020, the deadline for paying CGT was set at 30 days after the sale had been completed. This left the vendors very little time to make their submission. Vendors now have two months to set up a CGT account on the Government Gateway; once they have authorised their accountants, we can submit a prompt return on their behalf.

  • (1)
  • Do: be aware that while access dominates NHS dentistry, private dentists are building back better

  • Do: make sure that if you are selling a second home or investment property you pay the Capital Gains Tax within 60 days of completion

  • Do: recognise that in future, higher rate tax relief on pensions might be reduced and there might be an erosion of the value of the Business Asset Disposal Relief

In summary, this was a Budget with moderate aims bringing cheer to specific groups, notably beer and prosecco drinkers! We think we might get more of a sense of Rishi Sunak’s fiscal approach in 2022.