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IR35 - Removal of status concession for Associate Dentists

Under a current concession, HMRC allow associate dentists to be treated as self-employed. This concession will be withdrawn from the 6th April 2023 meaning that the dental practice itself will need to determine an associate dentist's employment status using the normal status tests.


Associate dentists typically do not own their own practice, instead working on a profit sharing basis with a dentist practice under a licence agreement to see patients and use the practice equipment and surgery.

Since IR35 was introduced, associate dentists have operated using standard British Dental Association (BDA) and Dnetal Practitioners Association (DPA) agreements to ensure the income of dental associates is treated as trading income and reportable on their own tax returns, subject to income tax and Class 2&4 NIC.

The advantage of this for a dental practice is that you do not need to account for Class 1 employer NIC for the associate's income or report and pay tax under PAYE.

What is changing

From April 2023, HMRC have announced that they will withdraw the paragraph in their guidance which mentions the BDA and DPA standard associate agreements. As a result, all associate dentists will need to have had their employment status reviewed by the dental practice on a case by case basis, the same as any other worker. 

Where the associate dentist is found to be an employee under the status test, the practice would be required to put them on payroll and thus subject to tax and NIC under PAYE, including Class 1 employers NIC. On the other hand, if the review suggest that the associate is genuinely self-employed, there would be no changes to the current arrangements. 

As with the change to IR35, HMRC will not be using this change to open up retrospective enquiries into employment status, but associates and those engaging them should ensure, going forward, that they have taken steps to minimise risk should HMRC enquire. 

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