Tax-dodging doctors named, shamed

The government yesterday made good on its promise to name and shame anyone found guilty of tax dodging, as it published a list of numerous highly paid doctors who it suspects have been evading contributions. The list made public by the Finance Ministry included 57 Athens-based doctors who were found to have committed a range of tax offenses, including failing to issue receipts and recording patients’ visits. The doctors have yet to be fined as the ministry is still sifting through their records to determine the extent of their alleged tax evasion. In the case of 36 of these doctors, authorities have asked banks to provide details of their accounts and any money transfers they may have made to banks in other countries. The ministry said that it would take full legal action against these doctors and would shut down their offices if they were found to be guilty of tax offenses. It was also announced that a separate investigation led to six doctors being fined a total 1.9 million euros for not paying their taxes. Four of these will also face criminal charges. Four other doctors have been informed that they will have to pay 2.4 million euros in fines. Twelve orthopedic doctors are also being investigated on suspicion of accepting under-the-table payments from DePuy Inc, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, to agree to buy supplies from the UK-based firm. The ministry said that the 12 doctors allegedly involved declared a combined income of just over 12 million euros between 2001 and 2008 when the deposits in their bank accounts amounted to some 31 million euros during the same period. Another eight orthopedic doctors are to be investigated in connection to this case. Inspectors recently raided the offices of doctors and dentists in the upmarket Kolonaki neighborhood of Athens but the ministry has not published the final findings of these investigations. It did, however, give an indication of the level of alleged tax evasion in which some of the suspects were involved. One dentist declared an annual income of 300 euros, while a surgeon claimed that he earned 11,605 euros – below the tax-free threshold.

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