New VAT laws mean headaches for GPs

GP PRACTICES across Ipswich are set to face further pressure when a complex new VAT law comes into force next month.The introduction of the new law on Tuesday May 1 means patients will have to be charged VAT on certain services not directly connected to their health, such as the issuing of letters on their behalf for insurance companies, priority housing schemes or cremation certificates.

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GP PRACTICES across Ipswich are set to face further pressure when a complex new VAT law comes into force next month.

The introduction of the new law on Tuesday May 1 means patients will have to be charged VAT on certain services not directly connected to their health, such as the issuing of letters on their behalf for insurance companies, priority housing schemes or cremation certificates.

Senior Partner at accountants firm PKF East Anglia, Marilyn Martin, which has offices in Ipswich, Great Yarmouth and Norwich, said the introduction of the new law is bad timing, as it comes just four weeks after the end of the NHS year when practice managers are at their busiest.


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Mrs Martin said: “It has come about as a direct result of a ruling by the European Court of Justice that said UK VAT exemptions for medical services were too wide.

“Now GP surgeries will have to decide what is VATable. But if they get it wrong, the tax man will still want his cut, which means GP surgeries will have to pay from their own funds.”

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Dr Andrew Schurr, a GP at a practice in Martlesham Heath, said: “This is one extra layer of crucial admin that our staff could do without. It's going to be an administrative nightmare but we've no choice. We'll knuckle down like everyone else - at least we are all in the same boat.”

In a bid to ensure GP surgeries are prepared for the new law, PKF said it plans to hold regular seminars on the new rules and practice managers are invited to join.

Practice manager of another Suffolk surgery in Long Melford, Claire Jay added: “I qualified as an accountant and even I am quivering about this.

“If practices are unsure whether something is VATable or not, they'll have to write to the tax man, wait for a response and only then will they be able to issue an invoice.”

n. Are you concerned about the new move? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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