Coronavirus and the impact for dental surgeries

23rd March 2020

In a matter of a few short days Coronavirus has created significant challenges for the dental sector.

Dentists are experiencing substantial cancellations of patient appointments.

And with routine procedures using water creating a fine spray in the air capable of carrying infected droplets putting dental teams and other patients at risk, the commercial and financial impact for dentists in the foreseeable future is clear to see.

With everything happening at pace, here is a summary of some of the developments and announcements affecting dental businesses: -

  • The BDA has made representations to government, requesting an extension to the dental sector of the business rates holiday for the 2020/21 tax year already announced for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses.
  • Grant support for 80% of dental and other staff costs where they would otherwise have been laid off.
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans of up to £5m. Scheme is government backed and interest free for first 12 months. Available through 40 lenders.
  • Dentist self-employed Income Tax payments due 31 July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will automatically be deferred to 31 January 2021.
  • Statutory sick pay from first day of illness if staff self isolating (applies to businesses with fewer than 250 staff). 
  • One off grant of £10,000 if your surgery is eligible for small business rate relief. Your local authority will make contact if you qualify.
  • Whilst not a new measure, HMRC have a time to pay service. On a case by case basis HMRC will discuss delaying payments not covered by a specific measure e.g. deferral of payment to HMRC of PAYE and national insurance deducted from employees.

The support for staff costs is a significant announcement and with full details of the how the scheme will work yet to be announced, please regularly check back to our Coronavirus knowledge hub for updates on this and other measures. 

A couple of practical points

UDA’s - Where there is an underperformance of UDA’s as a result of Coronavirus, check your NHS contract for a ‘force majeure’ clause, which means if an event occurs out of your control resulting in being unable to meet contractual obligations, UDA’s can be carried forward. Check eligibility and time limits for notification to your area team.  

Self-assessment tax payments – we understand that deferring July 2020 tax payments might still bring Cashflow challenges in January 2021. We would urge you to have your business accounts that end in the 2019/20 tax year prepared as soon as possible in order that you have early warning of your January 2021 tax liability.

However, this will then facilitate discussions on the potential to reduce your 2020/21 tax payments on account due in January and July 2021, if profits in your business accounts that end in 2020/21 are likely to be significantly lower than the previous year. 

Developments are happening on a daily basis and regular communication is essential. Please keep in touch with your usual contacts in the Bishop Fleming healthcare team who will be delighted to assist you on any of the above and help you through this difficult time. 

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