Major pharmacy representative bodies have contacted HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to express concern over its plans to introduce changes to off-payroll working rules that will affect locums and self-employed pharmacists and potentially disrupt the supply of medicines and services to patients.
The proposed changes are set to be made following a consultation through what is known as IR35, a severely criticised piece of legislation that has reportedly forced many locum nurses to leave their profession at the prospect of paying the same tax as employee nurses.
The law, which the government wants to come into effect by April 6, 2020, would see locum and self-employed pharmacists pay the same tax as employee pharmacists.
“The off-payroll working rules, commonly known as IR35, are intended to ensure that individuals who work like employees pay broadly the same employment taxes as employees, regardless of the structure they work through,” HMRC said in its consultation which closed at the end of last month.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society, National Pharmacy Association, Company Chemists’ Association and Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, as well as Team Locum and Locate a Locum, urged HMRC to ensure its check employment status for tax tool “is fit for purpose.”
“We believe that this tool is not refined enough to meet the needs of the community pharmacy sector. Those using the tool need to be confident that it’s accurate and fair in all cases,” they said in a statement.
They also urged HMRC “to provide a detailed timetable for rolling out the reforms and clear, ongoing, communications about how to prepare.”
“The IR35 reforms are complex changes which will be difficult to embed across the diverse populations of workers that exist across the private sector,” they said.
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