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HMRC to remove specific occupational guidance on locum pharmacist employment status

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HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has announced plans to withdraw its occupational guidance regarding the employment status of Locum Pharmacists.

HMRC’s Employment Status Manual (ESM) specific occupational guidance for Locum Pharmacists (ESM4270 and ESM2063) will be removed with effect from Friday 30th June 2023.

The employment status of Locum Pharmacists should be considered in line with ESM0500 and CEST, which has always been the case where there is doubt about their status.

The HMRC made this decision as updates to its general Employment Status Manual and the availability of the Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) tool have removed the need for occupation-specific guidance.

Pharmacists defence Association (PDA) representatives attended a confidential HMRC briefing in advance of the announcement and HMRC stated that the removal of this text from their manual does not change the facts of anybody’s tax status.

HMRC said they want a fair and level playing field across all sectors and therefore they are removing any guidance that may have given the impression that any sector specific arrangements could determine a person’s tax status.

The HMRC told the PDA: “Removing these specific pieces of guidance does not mean HMRC has changed its view on the employment status of locum pharmacists. The rules on employment status remain unchanged as they stem from case law. Businesses in the pharmacy sector should be looking at the facts of the engagement in line with case law and that should continue after 30 June 2023. Employment status is determined by the terms of any contract, the facts of how the individual works and case law. So nothing changes in practical terms. As set out in ESM4270 a written document by itself cannot determine employment status.”

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