Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The taxman sayeth sorry?

How GPs get paid is a mystery to most of our patients as they can see highly trained professionals for free in contrast to their lawyers, plumbers, builders and dentists for whom a small honorarium is usually required from our patients in order for them to avail themselves of these professionals’ services. In the same way that anything provided for free should not be paid for which is the view of government the way in which GPs are taxed is a mystery to most including GPs.

Most GPs are self-employed and to put it simply we pay tax twice a year on the 31 January and 31 July. This is in contrast to most employed people who have tax taken from them on their monthly earnings.

The Inland Revenue are not normally viewed as the kindest of people but those of us who live in a civilized society and like roads upon which to drive our Ferraris, as all UK GPs do, realize that tax is a necessary evil in order to provide public services.

So each month that we work we GPs here at ND Central put aside enough money to pay the taxman (or woman) must show we understand “diversity” for we know our place in January and July each year.

Now because the country needs money it is important that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) run a smooth well oiled ship but this year several of the team at ND Central did not receive the paying in slips that HMRC send out twice a year before the 31 July deadline.

If you as a taxpayer miss the Party’s deadlines then a fine and interest are slapped on you and you have to still pay the tax. So the non receipt of the paying in slips caused a bit of bother but fortunately our accountants who, you will be pleased to know operate on the same charitable status that our patients can see us, were ahead of the game and advised us how much to pay to keep the HMRC wolf away from our doors.

So imagine our surprise to receive on the 17 August our paying in slip dated 3 July 2011. Now can you imagine the self righteousness of any individual’s indignation if they were to complain to the Revenue about this late arrival and their non payment as a result of this error for the benevolent HMRC suspends the innocent until proven guilty principle of common law and replaces it with you are guilty until you can prove you are whiter than white and we mean Snow White with no hint of even one of the seven dwarfs within a hundred miles of her in terms of pure innocence.

After a hefty dose of sodium nitroprusside IV to control the understandable rise in blood pressure we read the accompanying paperwork and found the form at the start of this piece but despite trying the official website we could not find it for you.

Still it is a first we think. Who knows if HMRC can start saying sorry maybe politicians who have buggered up the NHS will do the same next . . .?

Praise be to the Party for allowing us the privilege of free healthcare and of 70%+ taxation (if you include National Insurance in its various guises) in order for us to pay for what we deliver. Still for once we as GPs are not in the wrong . . .