Recently, the Revenue Commissioners have collected approximately €61million in taxes, penalties and interest during their ongoing investigation of over 800 medical consultants. It is believed that there was a significant underpayment of taxes by 276 consultants who had incorporated their private medical practices and other companies. These investigations are currently ongoing and to date, 36 consultants have been published on the Revenue’s list of tax defaulters. The findings include so-called “future uplift” or the estimation of future taxes collected.
Chairman of the Revenue, Niall Cody has been recently quoted as saying of the investigation:
“These are high-wealth individuals. These are people with significant incomes and there has been significant underpayment of taxes.”
This investigation has been underway since 2010, when Revenue suspected that a wrongful tax planning strategy was being marketed towards medical consultants. The incorporation of medical practices can be a legal form of tax avoidance, however many of the practices registered have been found to have no commercial reality, positioning these particular practices in the realm of illegal tax avoidance.
The chairman was also quoted as saying that these individuals had seemingly forgotten the “legitimate boundaries” in relation to tax matters and had wrongfully claimed expenses that were either non-existent or not relevant to the business they were claimed against. Nanny costs and private home expenses were among the expenses wrongfully claimed in some cases. Other issues identified are wages paid to underage family members. Mr Cody explained that in one case expenses were claimed for the services of a child working on a website “because the child was proficient in IT and the consultant wasn’t.”
825 cases have been opened in this investigation, with 552 cases now closed. In all cases closed to date it has been found that the consultants were not in fact acting in goodwill and were evading taxes wilfully and under full knowledge.
Wages were paid to underage family members by some consultants. Mr Cody described one case in which the expenses were claimed for the services of a child for work on a website, “because the child was proficient in IT and the consultant wasn’t.”
The Irish Hospital Consultants Association and tax advisers have asked Revenue to publish guidance on goodwill for medical practices.
Mr Cody was also quoted as explaining that if it seems too good to be true it is probably unethical which is a good rule for your tax matters. If you require any further guidance or advice on your own tax or financial matters, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
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