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Revenue sets sights on tax cheat doctors

TAX inspectors have the medical profession in their sights as they trawl through cash businesses to rake in extra taxes.

Revenue has confirmed that it is targeting tax-dodging doctors in its latest series of audits because of the cash nature of much of their business.

Revenue chairman Josephine Feehily says an audit of 350 professionals, which included doctors, dentists and accountants yielded €8.9m in extra taxes last year.

She has revealed that cash businesses and professionals in particular are the focus of Revenue attention since this type of activity generated more than €4m in taxes last year alone.

Private income in family doctor practices has fallen by almost a quarter and, according to one leading financial advisor, this has led some doctors to fall short of their tax obligations.

The Revenue will also be looking at private nursing homes.

Of 166 doctors audited last year, Revenue raised €3.9m which works out at an average of €23,000 per audit.



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Stephen Lynch, a partner in MedAccount, told doctors at a recent seminar that they were being targeted by Revenue for the past two years because of an article in a Sunday newspaper.

The article showed that audits of general practitioners yielded an average of €26,000.

"There's a lot of cash coming into a GP practice and they just want to make sure the cash in accounted for", he added.

He said the 25pc drop in private income in practices across the country was largely due to the economic recession.

His accountancy company had a large number of doctor clients. "What we are seeing in private income is that people are almost dying before they are going to be seen by a GP. It's certainly fallen by about 25pc".

Most clients would have fairly high living requirements so it was common for them to say "I will pay the mortgages, I will pay the school fees, I will feed the children and I will forget the income tax". He advised doctors to approach their accountant or financial adviser if they were falling behind with taxes.

"If you ignore it, Revenue will put an attachment order, such as to freeze your bank accounts." he warned doctors.

csheehy@herald.ie


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