Cyprus Mail

Medical profession being scrutinised to root out tax cheats

Tax commissioner, Yiannis Tsangaris, on Friday said his department has made numerous tax audits on doctors and there have been many cases where large amounts in additional tax have been enforced.

Following a debate on the income of private doctors after disagreements between the medical association and the government concerning the former’s pay demands for their participation in the National Health Scheme (Gesy), the state tax authorities said they have already launched a campaign to fish out tax dodgers.

The probe follows also a call by President Nicos Anastasiades recently for doctors to submit their tax returns for the past seven years.

Tsangaris told state broadcaster CyBC television on Friday that there are 2,300 doctors registered in the state tax records.

“The first thing to check, is where there is a tax record, if they submit their tax returns,” Tsangaris told CyBC.  This step has been already done, he said, while, in cooperation with the medical association “we have found which doctors have no tax records”. Of those, he said, they checked to see who was justified in not having a tax record.

“Then we saw who from those do not regularly submit their tax returns. We have sent them letters and those who did not respond are being taken in court,” Tsangaris said

He added that, as in every professional group, not all doctors are at the same level as regards income.

“We are a very small place, we know which doctors are believed to have very high incomes due to their popularity,” he said.

Tsangaris said that they choose who to check “based on some risk analysis, or based on some parameters we set, and information we receive from third parties and we start the tax audit.”

He said they have checked a great number of doctors and have issued very large amounts in additional taxes. There have been cases where doctors were didn’t issue invoices, he said.

If a doctor is found not keeping tax records as per the law, he said, the tax commissioner has the right to do a detailed audit on his or her estimated income according to the latter’s judgement.

Tsangaris also said his office is in consultations with the audit service to coordinate actions.

Anastasiades last month called on doctors to submit, along with their pay demands, their tax returns for the last seven years, making an indirect reference to tax dodging. He was referring to the pay demands of private doctors as regards Gesy. Private doctors fear the financial package they are being offered to participate in Gesy is not enough of an incentive.

“They [tax returns] should be submitted and whatever they [doctors] declare or have declared [as their income], should be given to them accordingly as their pay,” Anastasiades said during the interview, alluding to the possibility that many doctors understate their income on their tax returns.

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