By Peter Stevenson
THE Auditor-general is calling on the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) to take immediate and drastic measures to crack down on tax dodgers after random checks found 61 doctors who were declaring less income than they were earning.
Following further checks carried out at the Road Transport Department (RTD) and the land registry department, a number of those 61 doctors were discovered to have purchased luxury cars and property during the same period.
A confidential letter obtained by daily Politis, sent from the Auditor-general’s office to the IRD, names the tax-dodging doctors and covers tax returns up until 2011.
The letter underlines the fact that due to the financial crisis, the IRD needs to start collecting the taxes to increase state income.
It is believed that a number of private doctors do not give their patients receipts and they only do so in cases when it is demanded of them.
From sample research done between November 2012 and January of this year, audit services found 35 doctors who were not even registered with IRD and did not submit tax returns.
Politis cites one particular case of an unnamed dermatologist who in 2012 bought four apartments valued at €185,000 but did not complete any tax returns.
The letter also refers to 11 doctors who have not completed any tax return forms for at least a year or more and have not been asked to do so by the IRD.
The Auditor-general notes that despite those doctors not submitting their tax forms, the IRD had not proceeded with any legal measures against them up until June of this year when the letter was sent.
The IRD has since sent out letters to the doctors demanding they submit a tax return with a capital statement which will give a better indication of their income and any other possible undeclared incomes.
Another group of doctors that have been singled-out by the Auditor-general’s office were those who have been working for a number of years but have only recently been registered at the IRD. One such case was a doctor who had been working since 2002 and had only registered with the IRD in August of last year but up until December he had not submitted any tax returns. A check at the RTD showed he had registered a Mercedes in 2008 and a BMW in 2012 both in his name. According to the land registry department the doctor and a female with the same surname registered property on their names valued at €187,946.
For these sorts of cases, the Auditor-general recommended that the IRD demanded back taxes and capital statements for the last six to 12 years, depending on each case.
The Auditor-general made a case of referring to one specific doctor who is a former MP who claimed to have had a total income of €358,533 between 2006 and 2009. Information from the land registry department showed he had spent €757,059 on the purchase of property during the same period.