‘Difficult’ to predict impact of taper on high earning doctors – govt

The government has said that it is “difficult” to predict the impact of the tapered annual allowance on individual high earning doctors.

In a reply to a written question, MP Edward Argar said that the government “recognises” that the taper may “contribute” to NHS consultants retiring early or limiting their hours.

Argar said that, as the taper calculation takes into account all taxable income, the Department for Health and Social Care cannot make an assessment on the impact of the taper.

“We are also listening carefully to concerns raised by senior doctors and NHS employers about the tapered annual allowance, and the particular difficulties caused by the impact of non-pensionable income from providing additional much needed clinical sessions on the taper,” he added.

The government has promised to hold an “urgent review” to address the tax issues affecting public sector pensions but has not pledged to scrap the taper as many in the industry have called for.

The 2020 Budget, scheduled for 11 March, was confirmed earlier this week (7 January), with Hargreaves Lansdown head of policy, Tom McPhail saying that there was a “possibility” that the government will announce “a more radical review of pension taxation”.

Annual and tapered allowances have drawn attention after causing issues for NHS staff members which saw some doctors cutting back hours and retiring early to avoid pensions taxation.

“The department has consulted on introducing flexibility within the NHS Pension Scheme from 2019/20 to allow clinicians affected by annual allowance tax charges to reduce their pension accrual in deciles in order to manage any potential annual allowance tax charges,” concluded Argar.

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