We are no tax cheats, says private medical specialists’ body

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PETALING JAYA: The Association of Specialists in Private Medical Practice Malaysia has come to the defence of doctors who have been painted as tax dodgers.

It said doctors had, through representatives, already agreed to perform self-audit and resubmit tax returns.

Expressing regret at the “disconcerting” news reports, association president Dr Sng Kim Hock said these had unduly implied that specialists in private medical practice in Malaysia were cheats.

He said the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) had in September last year issued a ruling that services provided by specialists in private medical practice would no longer be deemed taxable under “Sendirian Berhad” (private limited company), but as a personal income.

He said the ruling affected the incomes of specialists over a three-year period from 2013 to 2015, with the imposition of a 15% penalty.

“Prior to the issuance of the said ruling, our association and the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) had a number of meetings with IRB,” Sng said in a statement today.

“The outcome of those meetings was that all specialists, with their accountants, need to do a self-audit based on the new ruling.

“They had to resubmit their tax returns, which includes a calculation of the said penalty, by Dec 15, 2016, failing which IRB would impose a penalty of 45% or more.”

He said many of the 3,000 affected specialists had undertaken the exercise, leading to a reported collection of RM400 million by IRB.

Sng said the doctors worked hard for what they earned and should be allowed an opportunity to address any incorrect allegations.

“We also wish to take this opportunity to urge the Chartered Tax Institute of Malaysia to help clear the good name of doctors.”

TheSun daily cited an Oriental Daily News report which revealed that the tax audit operation carried out by the IRB so far this year had shown that doctors accounted for the bulk of tax dodgers.

It said RM1.111 billion of the RM1.158 billion in additional assessments and penalties, imposed on errant taxpayers for under-declaring their taxes, was levied on doctors.

The report said the remaining penalties were imposed on engineers (RM3.83 million), architects (RM1.181 million) and lawyers (RM7.39 million).

Last month, IRB CEO Sabin Samitah had warned that the agency would be targeting these professional groups in its upcoming audit operation.

He had said that the operation would likely kick off in September or October.

Sng said that over the past four decades, private specialists had been advised by their accountants, many of whom were retired senior IRB officers and directors, to file their taxes under “Sendirian Berhad”.

“The submissions of our tax returns were made upon the advice of our accountants, as well as certified tax agents and consultants, all of whom were approved by IRB prior to the said ruling,” he said.

“The allegations made are accordingly incorrect and unfair.

“We cannot allow such allegations to continue to be raised against specialists in private medical practice in Malaysia without taking the necessary steps to protect our reputation,” he added.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/09/18/most-tax-dodgers-are-doctors-says-inland-revenue-board/

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/08/29/professionals-the-next-target-for-irb-audits/