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A locum is a temporary worker who either fills in when permanent staff are unavailable, or who freelances professionally. This term is commonly used for doctors, physicians and clergymen. 

If you’re working as a locum at regular gigs, make sure you’re aware of this year’s recent tax changes regarding IR35. You may be affected by them so preparation is key.

Are locums classed as self-employed?

A freelance locum is classed as self-employed in the eyes of HMRC and must register for Self Assessment. Whether you freelance full-time or part-time, you’ll still need to complete a tax return for any earnings you made through your freelance gigs.

Because of the nature of the job role, it’s easy to think that all locums are self-employed. However, this isn’t always the case. Some locums are employed by agencies who help place them in short-term contract roles. If this is the case for you, then you don’t need to do a Self Assessment tax return, because your taxes will be sorted for you by the agency. 

Which professions use locum staff?

Locums can be used in any profession, but the term is especially used in the medical space. Hospitals often use locum medical staff to substitute during busy periods, such as during the winter months.

Here are some examples of locum job roles:

  • Doctors
  • GPs
  • Nurses
  • Dentists
  • Therapists
  • Physicians
  • Clergymen

Can locums claim expenses?

As a freelance locum you can, yes! Because you’re self-employed, one of the benefits is that you’re allowed to claim back tax on legitimate business expenses. The general rule surrounding claims is that any expenses that you have incurred which are ‘wholly and exclusively’ for your job are tax-deductible. 

These expenses can include your medical indemnity, train/travel fares, parking tickets, parking permits, stamps, stationery and medical equipment. Just make sure you keep your receipts and records of what expenses you want to claim as evidence for HMRC.

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