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Lump sum payments received by healthcare practitioners

The ATO has provided further guidance for healthcare practitioners dealing with lump sum payments from healthcare centre operators.

The Tax Office is concerned with some practitioners who have received lump sum payments and have incorrectly treated the payments as a capital gain. These practitioners have then applied the small business CGT concessions to reduce the capital gain, in many instances reducing it to nil.

The ATO has clarified that a lump sum payment from a healthcare centre operator is more likely to be ordinary income of the practitioner for providing services to their patients from the healthcare centre rather than a capital gain. Practitioners are required to include the full amount of the lump sum payment in their assessable income.

Healthcare practitioners who are considering any arrangements that relate to a lump sum payment for commencing or providing ongoing healthcare services should note that the ATO is looking closely at these arrangements to determine if they are compliant with income tax laws and whether the anti-avoidance provisions may apply.

The Tax Office is aware that some practitioners are using a private ruling that was issued to another taxpayer, however, you can only rely on a private ruling if you applied for it.

Healthcare practitioners entering or planning to enter into an arrangement of this type are encouraged to seek independent professional advice, ask the ATO for a private ruling or make a voluntary disclosure to reduce any penalties. Please contact our office if you have any questions about these arrangements.

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