PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has disputed a recent news report which said tax dodging and underpaying by doctors was costing the government losses.
MMA President Dr John Chew said doctors were, in fact, often closely monitored by the Inland Revenue Board (IRB).
“There is no basis to the generalisation that doctors do not pay their taxes or properly declare their income.
“There may be some black sheep in our profession, though there is no reason or basis to believe that they are significant in number,” Chew told FMT in a statement today.
“From my experience, and that of many of my colleagues, doctors in general do declare their income honestly.”
On Monday, business daily The Malaysian Reserve had reported that the government lost about RM1 billion to undeclared taxes by professionals, with doctors accounting for 20 per cent of the group.
It quoted Desmond Anil, a director at Hernancres Tax Consultancy Sdn Bhd as saying that some medical practitioners got around paying taxes due by operating their clinics as private limited companies, or “sendirian berhad” (Sdn Bhd).
“Doctors will frequently declare unrelated expenses as tax deductibles under Sdn Bhd. This includes house renovations, vehicle purchases and other medically unrelated items,” Anil was quoted as saying.
Chew, however, questioned such allegations, saying doctors in private practice were often audited by the IRB and under declaration of income could be picked up “quite easily”.
He said the IRB would go after errant medical personnel and “the MMA has no problem with this”.
Chew added that the MMA was not a regulatory body, and hence, had no power to compel its members to promptly declare their taxes.
National news agency Bernama had recently published Chew’s reply to the initial report, saying it was irresponsible of FMT to have reproduced The Malaysian Reserve article, which he said was of dubious veracity.
EDITOR’S NOTE : FMT would like to stress that its report titled “Govt loses RM1b from professionals who under-declare tax”, dated August 15, 2016, was completely based on the report by The Malaysian Reserve titled “Doctors under-declare income”, published on the same day, and FMT did not alter the contents in any way.