The NHS associate pension problem – join Alan Suggett’s campaign.

Alan Suggett has started a campaign about a subject that I have mentioned before, associates’ pensions. This piece from Dentinal Tubules speaks for itself.

Imagine if you were told that an elderly person left a parcel containing several thousand pounds on the bus when he or she got off.
The parcel wasn’t ever returned.
How much worse would you feel if the elderly person was a retired dentist?
I imagine you’d be pretty upset!
Turn the clock forward – what if the elderly person is you?
How do you feel now?
Unfortunately, according to an analysis of annual return information, there are up to 3,000 NHS associates who have almost certainly suffered from the NHS pension equivalent of the loss outlined above.
Perhaps not as emotive of losing a parcel of cash – but the financial loss is the same.  Particularly when you realise that every £100pa of pension lost equates to between £2,000 and £3,000 of cash equivalent.
Why has this happened?
It’s all down to the following factors:
1.       Principals filling in Annual Reconciliation Return forms incorrectly– by mistake or, unfortunately, maybe even deliberately!
2.       Associates not checking annual form SD86C– either because they don’t know how to, or because they don’t appreciate how important it is to do so.
3.       Accountants who aren’t experienced in acting for dentists who don’t know of the potential problem, so don’t check their client’s annual pension entitlement.
The powers that be (NHS Pensions) are well aware of the problem, as are the BDA, and the recording process is being changed (hopefully by 2012).  However, this still leaves up to 3000 associates who obviously have a problem, and perhaps many more, where their pension calculation is wrong, but not obviously so.
So, join the campaign to alert all NHS associates to the problem – check your SD86C’s (all of the way back to 2007 to cover every year of the ”new” NHS contract ), and if you don’t know how, ask someone who does (my contact details are below!)
Let’s make this a viral campaign, tell all of your associate friends.
I look after approximately 70 associates’ tax affairs, and reckon that more than 15% have been affected by a variation of the problem – as the lottery man used to say IT COULD BE YOU!

About the Author – Alan Suggett
Alan is a Chartered Accountant and partner in UNW LLP chartered accountants, where he is head of the Dental Business Unit.  Alan writes regularly for the dental press, and contributed to the Dental Practice Health Check which was published in late 2007. He is also a member of the National association of Specialist Dental Accountants & Lawyers (NASDAL) and a member of the technical committee. Alan is the editor of the quarterly NASDAL goodwill survey which analyses all member client practice sales, purchases, and valuations.
He can be contacted on 0191 243 6009, alansuggett@unw.co.uk

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