Govt must ‘urgently clarify’ NHS Voluntary Scheme Pays Rules – Royal London

Royal London has urged the government to “urgently clarify” Voluntary Scheme Pays eligibility rules in England and Wales to ensure that NHS workers have “breathing space” to resolve their tax affairs before the current deadline of 31 July 2020.

The government previously announced a number of easements to support NHS workers throughout the current pandemic, including extending the deadline for Voluntary Scheme Pays for tax changes related to 2018/19 until 31 October.

However, the government made no changes to the mandatory Scheme Pays deadline, which remains 31 July.

Royal London has warned that it also failed to clarify whether members meeting the conditions for Mandatory Scheme Pays could go down the Voluntary Scheme Pays route if they miss the 31 July deadline.

The company has written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care seeking clarification as to whether NHS scheme members who miss the deadline will be able to benefit from the ‘breathing space’ of the voluntary deadline concession.

It also previously called on Scottish ministers to implement a similar concession earlier this month, as at this time Scotland was yet to announce any deadline extension.

The Scottish government subsequently clarified that the Voluntary Scheme Pays deadline has been extended, and that members who meet the conditions for Mandatory Scheme Pays but miss the deadline are indeed eligible to use Voluntary Scheme Pays instead.

Royal London has welcomed this clarification that will support “overstretched NHS workers”, but warned that “the clock is ticking” and that similar clarification in England and Wales is “urgently” needed.

Royal London senior intermediary development and technical manager, Moira Warner, commented: “As it currently stands those scheme members in England and Wales who qualify for Mandatory Scheme Pays risk having to pay a tax bill potentially running into thousands of pounds from their own pockets if they miss the 31 July deadline.

“Extending them the opportunity to make use of the Voluntary Scheme Pays route will save them a lot of time, money and stress at a time when they are carrying out such an important role on the frontline of tackling the coronavirus pandemic.”

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