Clear and hassle-free advice for GPs


Clear and hassle-free advice for GPs

Shipleys have been using their specialist knowledge in the healthcare sector for over 10 years. We act for GPs practices of all sizes from small single handed practices to larger partnerships and corporates, as well as Pharmacy linked GP practices, health clinics and consultants.

The health industry has seen a surge in growth in recent years, achieved against a back drop of challenges from fundamental reforms to the NHS. GPs need to be proactive with their business model and look to provide more of the advanced and enhanced services on top of essential services to maintain incomes and profitability.


GPs Principals and Practices

At Shipleys Tax we understand the specific needs of general practices and the partners involved. Fundamental reforms to the NHS mean GP practices need to continuously re-position themselves under the new system and be able to devote maximum time to administration of patient care. This is where our team can help by providing specialist knowledge on streamlining accounting and tax matters leaving GPs to concentrate on patient care.

Why do you need a specialist GP accountant?

• Knowledge of NHS general practice and the expert advice we provide can be instrumental
• Understanding how practices are funded (from global sum to QOFs ).
• Be familiar with the GP contract reforms, GMS statement of financial entitlements, PMS contracts and the NHS pension scheme.
• Be up to speed on practice based commissioning (PBC), APMS contracts and the developing primary care market.
• Deal competently and promptly with all taxation matters and with GPs’ superannuation.

Why us?

We aim to do more than produce the annual accounts and handle the partners’ tax affairs.

Personal service – you will deal with one particular partner and their same support team and not be passed around

Timely – the annual accounts will be prepared to agreed time scales and we will visit the practice to discuss

Prompt – we will deal promptly with routine queries, telephone calls and emails and advise on bookkeeping, cash flow and monitoring partners’ drawings without making additional charges.

Tax planning – we will discuss ways to minimise your overall tax liability and spot opportunities.

We have nationwide coverage and are happy to come and visit you.


What our basic annual fee covers:
• Annual accounts preparation.
• Meeting GPs to discuss draft accounts.
• Partnership tax return and tax computation..
• Advising on projected profits and tax liability.
• Dispensary accounts.
• Partners’ personal tax returns.
• GP certificate of NHS pensionable income.
• Ad hoc email and telephone queries
• Opportunities for tax planning for both business and personal affairs

We also advise on:

• VAT accounting.
• Setting up a limited company for non-NHS or locum income.
• Setting up a limited company social enterprise for PBC/APMS purposes.
• Handling HM Revenue & Customs’ investigation into the practice.
• Payroll
• NHS superannuation
• Specific tax planning strategies for reducing IHT, CGT and Stamp Duty

GP Locums, Registrars and Consultants

We have acted for GP Locums, Consultants and Registrars for many years and understand the needs of the medical profession.

As a GP Locum, Registrar or consultant you have very specific accounting and tax needs which may not necessarily be appreciated by a non specialist advisor.
What does the service include?

• Advising on employed vs self employed status and NIC implications
• Proactive advice on tax allowable business expenses, professional subscriptions and general tax planning for locums
• Advice on employing a spouse
• Preparation of annual Accounts and tax returns for HMRC
• Ad hoc telephone and email advice

As well as providing accounting and income tax advice we can also advise on the following areas:

• Incorporation of your business via a limited company
• Advice on tax treatment of superannuation
• Advice on completing superannuation certificates (GP solo, Forms A&B)
• Inheritance tax planning
• Property tax planning

We have nationwide coverage and act for GP Locums, Registrars and Consultants clients based throughout the UK.

Why us?

• Save you money – proactive services ensuring you are aware of tax savings
• Knowledge you can rely on – we have a wealth of tax expertise in the healthcare sector
• Planning – ensuring you are aware of tax liabilities and payment dates enabling you to plan your cashflow
• Peace of mind – we have many years of experience in dealing with the tax affairs of medical and hospital consultants
• Help you minimising risk of HMRC enquiry

Our fees start at £345 + VAT

Tax Planning for Doctors

Tax law never stands still and goal posts are always moving. It is crucial that you have the right adviser to guide you through the maze and help reduce your tax bill through legitimate and transparent means.

Shipleys Tax has a number of specialist tax advisers with wealth of experience in the medical sector who can talk to you about the many tax saving opportunities.

We always say the best tax planning is done before a major event in the business so seek advice early on in the lifecycle of a transaction. Some areas to consider:

• Buying or Selling a GP practice property – huge tax saving opportunities both personal and corporation tax (NB: patient lists cannot be sold)
• GP linked pharmacies – most tax efficient trading structures
• Reduce inheritance tax on death
• Reduce stamp duty land tax on buying
• Offshore tax planning advice for certain businesses
• Provide property development strategies
• Use of EIS/SEIS and corporate venture vehicles
• Use of LLPs and corporate partnerships
• Asset protection and preservation of wealth
• Estate planning and succession

Latest news & blogs…

Spring Budget 2024 – National Insurance and Property Tax cuts

Doctors Shipleys Tax Advisors

The spring Budget delivers no surprises

IN WHAT WAS probably his last budget in the current parliament, the Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered his Spring Budget today. A timid affair with no real surprises, a symbol of a dying party on it’s last embers.

In today’s Shipleys Tax brief we look at some of the highlights and how it affects taxpayers.

Employees and self-employed

The expected 2% cut in the main rates of primary Class 1 and Class 4 NI was confirmed. From 6 April 2024, the rates will be as follows:

 Main rateRate above upper earnings/profits limit
Self-employed people6%2%

Disappointingly, there are again no changes to the rate or threshold applicable to employers.

Child benefit

The way that the high income child benefit charge operates has long been criticised, in particular the discrepancy that means that a family where each parent earns, say, just under the £50,000 withdrawal threshold can keep the full amount; but a single income household will lose the benefit if they earn more than £60,000.

The long-term solution offered will be to assess eligibility based on “household income”, but this will not be immediate. So in the meantime, from 2024, the withdrawal threshold will be increased to £60,000, and the rate of charge will be lower, at 1% for every £200 of excess income. This means that full withdrawal will not occur until adjusted net income is at £80,000.

Capital gains tax (CGT)

The current CGT rates applicable to gains made on disposals of residential property are 18% and 28%, depending on the individual’s level of income and the size of the gain. This compares to rates of 10% and 20% for other assets, e.g. listed shares. From 6 April 2024, the higher rate will be cut to 24%.

Note: The 18%/28% rates also apply to carried interest gains. Such gains will continue to be subject to these rates.

VAT Threshold

In a long awaited move, the VAT registration threshold will increase from £85,000 to £90,000 from 1 April 2024. The deregistration threshold will increase from £83,000 to £88,000.

Furnished holiday lets (FHLs)

The FHL rules treat short-term letting businesses in a similar way to trading businesses for the purposes of various tax reliefs (including business asset disposal relief), subject to availability and occupancy conditions being met. The FHL regime will be abolished from April 2025. Targeted rules will apply from 6 March 2024 to prevent a CGT advantage being gained via the use of unconditional contracts.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

Multiple dwellings relief will be abolished for transfers with an effective date falling on or after 1 June 2024. However, transfers where contracts have been exchanged on or before 6 March 2024 can still benefit from relief, subject to a number of conditions. This only applies to properties in England or Northern Ireland, as Scotland and Wales have their own devolved regimes.

Non-domiciled individuals

As predicted by this firm some last year, individuals that are UK residents but have a non-UK domicile (non-doms) can currently access a remittance basis which excludes foreign income and gains from the UK tax net unless they are remitted to the UK. Domicile is a general law concept. From April 2025, the non-dom status for tax purposes will be abolished. Instead, those arriving in the UK for the first time, or following a ten-year period of non-residence, will have a four-year foreign income and gains (FIG) regime, meaning they won’t pay UK tax on overseas income or gains for the first four years. The funds can be brought to the UK with no additional charges. After the end of the FIG period, tax will be paid on worldwide income and gains.

It is also intended that inheritance tax (IHT) will move to a residence-based system from April 2025. Details will be available following a consultation.

Other measures

  • A new UK ISA with an allowance of £5,000 per year will be introduced.
  • Personal representatives will no longer be required to seek commercial loans to pay IHT before applying for a grant on credit (from 1 April 2024).
  • SDLT first time buyers’ relief will be extended to those who purchase new leases under a nominee/bare trust arrangement from 6 March 2024.
  • The scope of agricultural property relief and woodlands relief will be restricted to UK property from 6 April 2024.

More to follow.

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HMRC’s New Dividend Non-Disclosure Campaign

Doctors Shipleys Tax Advisors

HMRC HAVE ADVISED that they have commenced a “One to Many” letter campaign directed at shareholders who they suspect may need to declare income from dividends (and/or distributions).

Unfortunately, this typical “wide net” approach from HMRC means that many individuals, perhaps including vulnerable ones, will receive HMRC letters which could be misinterpreted as an accusation of tax avoidance. If you have receive a letter, don’t panic.

In today’s Shipleys Tax brief we look at what you need to know about HMRC’s One to Many letter campaign and how to respond effectively to avoid escalation.

What is HMRC’s One to Many Letter?

The HMRC has initiated a campaign targeting taxpayers who may not have declared income from distributions or dividends. Using data from company year-end accounts, which show significant drops in profit and loss account reserves, HMRC is pinpointing individuals who might have received a distribution or dividend but not declared it on their self assessment tax return.

HMRC… have commenced a “One to Many” letter campaign directed at shareholders who they suspect may need to declare income from dividends

The letter provides a 30-day window for recipients to either declare any undeclared income or to inform HMRC that all income has been accounted for. Ignoring the letter could lead to a compliance check and potential penalties.

Why You Might Have Received The Letter

HMRC’s usual method involves analysing publicly available company accounts to spot decreases in reserves and other factors, which could indicate dividend payments. However, this typically broad approach doesn’t account for dividends payments which may not be chargeable, e.g. they fall within personal and dividend allowances and are tax-free or issues relating to timing. Accordingly, if you’ve received such a letter, it may simply be part of this blanket strategy to ensure tax compliance but it’s best not to ignore it.

How to Respond to the Letter

If You Have Declared Everything:

  • Contact HMRC using the details provided in the letter.
  • Confirm that all necessary declarations have been made.

If You Need to Make a Declaration:

  • Review your tax return and determine if there’s any undeclared dividend income.
  • Visit the HMRC’s GOV.UK link on making a disclosure and use the specific online disclosure facility.

The Implications of Not Responding

Failing to respond to the HMRC’s letter can result in a compliance check and possibly higher penalties if undeclared income is discovered. It’s crucial to take action within the specified 30-day period stated in the letter. If they believe that they have no income to declare, the letter asks them to let HMRC know either by telephone or by email, again within 30 days. If they do not respond, the letter says that HMRC may open a compliance check and charge higher penalties.


The One to Many letter from HMRC is part of a proactive approach to tax compliance. If you’ve received one, take a moment to review your finances and speak to your adviser. With the right response, you can quickly resolve any issues or confirm your compliance, ensuring peace of mind and maintaining good standing with HMRC.

For further assistance or queries, please contact us by phone or email.

Please note that Shipleys Tax do not give free advice by email or telephone. The content of this article is for general guidance only and should not be considered as tax or professional advice. Always consult with a qualified professional before taking action.

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The ABC of Tax Planning with Alphabet Shares

Doctors Shipleys Tax Advisors

THE USE OF so-called Alphabet shares has been a staple in the world of tax planning for some time. These types of shares generally allow for a flexible approach to how dividends are paid out to shareholders of a company, enabling a tailored distribution that can be adjusted according to the individual tax circumstances of the shareholders.

In today’s Shipleys Tax brief, we will cover the basic concept of Alphabet shares, their benefits and drawbacks, and the likely approach adopted by HMRC to their use.

What are Alphabet shares?

Alphabet shares are so named because they categorize shares into different classes, each denoted by a letter of the alphabet (e.g., Class A shares, Class B shares, etc.). This classification allows companies to assign different rights to each class, particularly concerning dividend payments. The flexibility in dividend allocation means that shareholders can be paid varying amounts, which can be adjusted to optimise their personal tax positions.

What are they used for?

Historically, Alphabet shares have been used as a popular method for family-run businesses to manage internal dynamics and tax liabilities. Families could allocate different dividend rights to members based on their involvement in the business or their financial needs, without altering the overall control or structure of the company.

They have also been employed in start-ups and growing businesses looking to reward key employees with a stake in the company without immediately giving away voting rights or an equal share in the distribution of profits. By issuing different classes of shares to employees, businesses could align staff interests with the company’s performance without giving away significant control.

Families could allocate different dividend rights to members based on their involvement in the business or their financial needs, without altering the overall control or structure of the company.

In corporate fundraising they provided a means to attract investment by offering variable dividend rights while retaining management control. This aspect is particularly attractive to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are keen on securing capital but wary of outside influence over business decisions.

This flexibility makes Alphabet shares a valuable instrument for companies to structure their equity in a way that satisfied a multitude of shareholder requirements.

Tax Planning and Tailoring to Specific Needs

For certain commercial transactions, tax planning with Alphabet shares can be particularly useful in the right circumstances. Generally, you would find the following potential benefits:

– Minimise personal tax liability: shareholders can receive dividends up to the higher-rate tax threshold, effectively reducing their income tax liability.

– Utilise allowances and rates: shareholders can make full use of their dividend allowance and lower tax bands.

Minimise personal tax liability: shareholders can receive dividends up to the higher-rate tax threshold, effectively reducing their income tax liability.

– Planning for succession: Different classes can be allocated to future generations for long-term planning, without disrupting the current control of the company.

– Family estate planning: Alphabet shares can help in assigning income to family members in lower tax brackets where circumstances allow.

Not all a bed of roses

While Alphabet shares offer flexibility as seen above, they come with a rack of potential drawbacks that can complicate their use.

– Administrative Burden: maintaining different classes of shares requires meticulous record-keeping and administrative oversight. Each class may have its own dividend schedules, voting rights, and restrictions, which must be managed and documented appropriately.

– Legal Challenges: alphabet shares can sometimes lead to legal challenges, especially if shareholders feel their rights are being impinged upon. Disputes may arise over the interpretation of rights attached to various classes, or if there are allegations of unfair treatment among shareholders.

– Corporate Governance: having multiple share classes can complicate corporate governance. The differing rights and privileges can lead to conflicts of interest and make decision-making processes more complex.

What sayeth the Taxman?

HMRC views Alphabet shares with a healthy degree of suspicion because they can be used to artificially manipulate income streams for tax advantages. One specific piece of anti-avoidance legislation (“the settlements legislation”) can apply if HMRC believes that Alphabet shares are being used to divert income to someone else and reduce tax liability.

In the context of family businesses, the use of Alphabet shares for estate planning must be done with caution. HMRC may challenge arrangements that appear to be designed to avoid inheritance tax, particularly if shares are rapidly transferred between family members in a way that seems to be timed to minimise tax liability for example.

HMRC views Alphabet shares with a healthy degree of suspicion because they can be used to artificially manipulate income streams for tax advantages.

As such, if not structured correctly, the arrangements can be easily challenged under these anti-avoidance regulations, leading to the tax advantages being negated, tax investigations and potential penalties.


Alphabet shares can be a useful tool for tax planning when used correctly. They allow for a high degree of flexibility and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of both the company and its shareholders. However, their use must be considered carefully, with a clear understanding of the potential pitfalls and the close scrutiny they attract from HMRC. As always, when considering the use of Alphabet shares, it is prudent to seek professional advice to ensure that they are implemented effectively.

For further assistance or queries, please call 0114 272 4984 or email

Please note that Shipleys Tax do not give free advice by email or telephone. The content of this article is for general guidance only and should not be considered as tax or professional advice. Always consult with a qualified professional before taking any action.

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