NHS Highland’s Director of Finance, David Garden, has today confirmed that the health board are awaiting HMRC’s ruling on the tax treatment for compensation received through the Healing Process.
Last year it emerged that NHS Highland bulling victims’ compensation payments were paid through payroll and were therefore subject to tax.
During a Health & Sport Committee session at the Scottish Parliament, Donald Cameron MSP (Shadow Secretary for Health & Sport) asked: “I gather that there was an issue with whether tax was payable on compensation payments and that you wrote to HMRC about this, have you heard back from HMRC about that issue?”
David Garden, NHS Highland Director of Finance said: “We have not had a response as yet, no.”
NHS Highland confirmed in December 2020 that they had written to HMRC to seek a ruling on the tax treatment of compensation received through the Healing Process.
This happened after the Healing Process team stated in a leaked letter that “the method and treatment of payments under the Healing Process had not received the detailed examination and discussion which could have more quickly highlighted the different perspectives on this matter.”
“Whilst it was noted in the scheme that payments would be subject to applicable tax and national insurance, there were different assumptions made about what this meant and how the payments would be made, that were never explicitly discussed and brought to light.”
Edward Mountain MSP, who raised the issue of bullying compensation with the First Minister on 10 December 2020, said:
“NHS Highland should have asked this question to HMRC months ago, not after some payments had already been awarded.
I fully support the Healing Process but it is disappointing that bullying victims have seen their compensation taxed when I believe this could have been avoided.
I will continue to assist NHS Highland and the Scottish Government to ensure victims receive the full untaxed amount of compensation they are owed and deserve.
We should never forget that these settlements should not be viewed as earnings, you do not get a wage to be bullied.”
Donald Cameron MSP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health & Sport, said:
“NHS staff deserve our thanks for the work they do on our behalf, and they should also be treated with respect.
“They should certainly not find themselves still waiting for this matter to be resolved.
“This episode needs to be brought to a conclusion without any further delay.”