Tax Planning Tips for Doctor, Locum & Nurse

Unlock Insider Tax Planning Tips for Locum or Nurse from Self-Employed Income in the UK


As a self-employed locum or nurse in the UK, understanding and leveraging effective tax planning strategies can significantly reduce your tax liability and maximize your take-home income. Here are some insider tips to help you navigate the complexities of self-employment tax efficiently.


  1. Claim All Allowable Expenses

Ensure you claim all allowable business expenses to reduce your taxable income. Common deductible expenses for self-employed locums and nurses include:

  • Professional Fees and Subscriptions: Membership fees for professional bodies such as the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) or General Medical Council (GMC).
  • Work-Related Travel: Mileage allowance for travel to and from different work locations, public transport costs, and parking fees.
  • Uniforms and Laundry: Costs for uniforms and laundering expenses.
  • Medical Equipment and Supplies: Costs for stethoscopes, medical bags, and other work-related tools.
  • Insurance: Professional indemnity insurance and other relevant insurance policies.
  • Training and Development: Expenses for courses, conferences, and continuing professional development (CPD) programs.


  1. Use the Simplified Expenses Method

For certain expenses like vehicle costs and working from home, you can use HMRC’s simplified expenses method. This method uses flat rates instead of actual costs, simplifying your record-keeping and potentially increasing your deductions.


  1. Maximize Your Personal Allowance

Ensure you fully utilize your personal allowance (£12,570 for the 2024/25 tax year). Income up to this threshold is tax-free, so planning your income to make the most of this allowance can reduce your overall tax bill.


  1. Consider Incorporation

If your income is substantial, consider incorporating your business. Operating through a limited company can offer tax advantages, such as lower corporation tax rates and the ability to pay yourself through a combination of salary and dividends, which can be more tax-efficient.


  1. Utilize the Trading Allowance

If your gross income from occasional work or side jobs is less than £1,000 per year, you can take advantage of the trading allowance. This allowance exempts you from declaring and paying tax on this income.


  1. Take Advantage of the Capital Allowances

If you purchase new equipment or tool for your work, you may be able to benefit from the capital allowances deduction such as First year allowances (FYA) or Annual investment allowances (AIA), which allows you to claim 100% capital allowances on qualifying plant and machinery investments subject to threshold limit (currently £1 million) .


  1. Contribute to a Pension

Making contributions to a personal pension plan can provide tax relief. Contributions are deducted from your taxable income, effectively reducing your tax bill while securing your future.


  1. Plan for National Insurance Contributions (NICs)

As a self-employed individual, you need to pay both Class 2 and Class 4 NICs. Ensure you budget for these contributions to avoid any surprises at tax time. For the 2023/24 tax year, Class 2 NICs are £3.45 per week, and Class 4 NICs are 6% on profits between £12,570 and £50,270, and 2% on profits above £50,270.


  1. Claim for Home Office Expenses

If you use part of your home for administrative tasks related to your work, you can claim a proportionate amount of your household expenses, such as rent or mortgage interest, utilities, and internet costs.


  1. Use Accounting Software

Invest in accounting software designed for self-employed individuals. This can help you manage your finances, track expenses, and ensure you claim all allowable deductions. Tools like QuickBooks, Xero, or FreeAgent can be particularly useful.

  1. Defer Income and Accelerate Expenses

To manage taxable income, consider deferring income to the next tax year and accelerating expenses into the current year, especially if you anticipate being in a lower tax bracket in the future.


  1. Review Your Tax Code

Regularly review your tax code to ensure it’s accurate and reflects your current situation. Incorrect tax codes can result in overpaying or underpaying tax.


  1. Engage with a Tax Advisor

Work with a professional tax advisor who specializes in self-employment and healthcare. Coreadviz Accountants can provide tailored advice, ensure compliance with tax regulations, and identify additional tax-saving opportunities.


  1. Utilize Loss Relief

If you incur a loss in your business, you can offset it against other income, reducing your overall taxable income. This can be particularly useful in years where income is volatile.


  1. Stay Informed About Tax Legislation

Tax laws and regulations frequently change. Regularly review updates from HMRC and stay informed about new tax reliefs and allowances that may benefit your business.


  1. Plan for Tax Payments

Regularly set aside funds to cover your tax liabilities. This helps avoid cash flow issues when your tax bill is due. Consider making payments on account to spread the cost of your tax bill over the year.


  1. Utilize the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA)

The AIA allows you to deduct the full value of qualifying plant and machinery from your profits, up to £1 million. This can include office equipment, medical devices, and other business assets.


  1. Consider Charitable Donations

Making charitable donations can provide income tax relief. If you support registered charities, these donations can be deducted from your taxable income.


  1. Track All Expenses Accurately

Use an app or keep a detailed logbook to track all business-related expenses. Accurate record-keeping ensures you claim all allowable expenses and can provide evidence in case of a tax audit.


  1. Review Your Business Structure Regularly

Periodically review your business structure to ensure it remains tax-efficient. In some cases, restructuring or forming partnerships can provide additional tax benefits.


  1. Engage in Professional Development

Invest in your professional development. Costs related to further training and specializations can often be deducted as business expenses, while also enhancing your career prospects and earning potential.

By implementing these tax planning strategies, self-employed locums and nurses can effectively manage and reduce their tax liabilities, ensuring their practice remains financially healthy and profitable. Regular consultations with a tax professional will help you stay on top of your tax obligations and take full advantage of available reliefs and allowances.