Options for relief

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Feb 01, 2007

What's the difference between a part-time relief veterinarian and a block-time relief veterinarian?

"Almost every hospital will hire a relief doctor at some point," says Dr. Albert Haberle, who has been a relief veterinarian for seven years. So it's important to know what the guidelines are for hiring one.


Dr. Albert Haberle
The IRS distinguishes between a part-time relief veterinarian (PTRV) and a block-time relief veterinarian (BTRV) to determine tax standing. "A PTRV works on a reasonably consistent schedule of one to two days a week for one or more veterinary facilities," says Dr. Haberle. "The IRS considers a PTRV an employee of the practice, so the practice is responsible for withholding state and federal taxes and social security. The practice must also include this veterinarian in its malpractice insurance and workers' compensation."

A BTRV usually works at least four sequential days—a "block" of time—and up to six or more sequential weeks at different practices as needed. Sometimes this will be at the same practice on a number of occasions over a year, but it's not steady employment.

"The BTRV is considered to be an independent contractor," he says. "The practice isn't obligated to withhold federal or state taxes or pay into social security on behalf of the BTRV. The practice also doesn't need to carry workers' compensation or malpractice for this individual."