HMRC has, for many years, accepted that associate dentists are generally treated as self-employed. These agreements have been approved by the British Dental Association (BDA) and the Dental Practitioners Association (DPA) and are quoted in HMRC’s manuals.

HMRC’s manuals state that ‘these agreements relate to dentists practising as associates in premises run by another dentist. Where these agreements are used and the terms are followed, the income of the associate dentist is assessable under trading income rules and not as employment income. In these circumstances the dentist is liable for Class 2/4 NICs and not Class 1 NICs.’

It has now been confirmed that this specific guidance for Associate Dentists will be withdrawn with effect from 6 April 2023, and after this date the status of new and ongoing Associate Dentist engagements should be considered in line with standard employment status checks. 

This change should not impact the self-employed status of the majority of associate dentists but is in line with HMRC’s goal to stop making reference to third party advice in their own guidance. HMRC has also confirmed that they will not be using the withdrawal of the guidance as a reason to open retrospective enquiries into periods prior to 6 April 2023.

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