Dentists to lose out in pension confusion

In the aftermath of the deadline for dental practices with NHS contracts to submit their Annual Reconciliation Report, NASDAL’s specialist dental accountants say there is still incorrect reporting of dentists’ earnings.

Despite attempts to clarify the annual reporting process, in which practice-owners with NHS contracts record the Net Pensionable Earnings (NPE) for the practice as well as for their individual associates, the confusion which has persisted since 2006 over the calculation of NHS pensions continued in 2013.

Comprehensive guidelines were published last year and the reporting system was changed.

While, in the past, it was solely the responsibility of practice owners to submit the Net Pensionable Earnings (NPE), in 2013 all associated performers had to agree the figures provided by practice principals.

However, according to NASDAL, the process is still mired in confusion.

Johnny Minford, a specialist dental accountant and founder of York-based Minford Chartered Accountants, said: 'The problem is the lack of understanding around the calculation of Net Pensionable Earnings. We are aware of many practices which are not being well advised still using wrong methods of calculation.'

Johnny appealed for all involved in advising dentists to 'sing from the same song sheet' next year when advising dentists about their NHS pensions and how to calculate the correct amount.

He said: 'All of us working with dentists surely owe it to our clients to advise them properly.'

He is particularly concerned for associates whose principals are not prepared to reconsider, despite having wrongly recorded their net pensionable earnings.

He said: 'These clinicians will have been allocated the wrong amounts of superannuation, some too much, some too little. The amounts involved can be large and, for a young associate with many years to retirement, there may be quite an effect on their anticipated pension when it finally arrives. They need to be aware of what they are giving away.'

Since the 30 June deadline for the ARR passed, NASDAL’s Alan Suggett, chair of the NASDAL Superannuation Committee and partner in dental accountants UNW LLP, has met the team leaders of the BSA and National Helpline and reports that they are aware of the scale of the problem, and will increase efforts to address the problem for 2013/14.

Alan said: 'It was very encouraging to know that the NHS teams are keen to work with NASDAL to communicate the correct basis of pension calculation and bring confusion to an end.'

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