How do the IR35 rules affect a deduction for training costs?

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Emily Coltman
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Emily Coltman FCA investigates questions that accountants have raised about IR35 as it affects their clients.

The question

“A GP has a number of different contracts with public bodies. She has been told by the bodies in question that she falls within the new IR35 rules and that Tax and NI will be deducted.  To undertake the work, it is necessary for her to be a registered GP (although these are not GP roles) and she therefore believes that the cost of her continuing professional development (CPD) training should be an allowable expense.  I don’t believe that this is possible but would welcome any advice.

I am not convinced that she does fall within the new IR35 rules but the public bodies are being very prudent.”

Emily's answer

The three key issues here are:

  1. The recent change of stance by the NHS towards the IR35 rules.
  2. Treatment of expense if within IR35.
  3. Deductibility of the expense.

Recent change of stance by the NHS

The contractor press reports that although the NHS initially put all its contractors within IR35 on a blanket basis from 6 April 2017, that stance was changed and each contractor will now be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Whether this particular GP falls within IR35 or not, we cannot know from the information given.

Treatment of CPD if within IR35

If the GP is within IR35, then because she is working in the public sector, the 5% expenses rule would not apply and her engagers would operate PAYE and NI on her full earnings.

Deductibility of expense

If the doctor pays a fee to remain on the medical register, HMRC say this “may” be allowable.

The question of whether the CPD would be allowable is interesting. The questioner says that the doctor is not carrying out GP roles but that she has to be a registered GP in order to undertake this work (I am curious to know what the roles are). The CPD would have to be necessary for the performance of the doctor’s duties to be allowable, and based on the information given, my view would be that it would be allowable, given that the doctor must be a registered GP to do the work, and must do CPD in order to be a registered GP. That said, this would depend on the specific nature of the role and duties.

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