(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
The value-added-tax office in the Tax Authority last week conducted surprise checks of the finances of 250 private physicians and found more than a third were hiding their incomes and also collecting illegal refunds totaling tens of millions of shekels on their private expenses.
So far, the Tax Authority has collected some NIS 100 million in back taxes. The campaign involved searches in homes and offices following the collection of intelligence by the Israel Police, the Tax Authority, and Health Ministry personnel.
In many cases, the doctors reported much lower income than what they actually earned. One woman physician from the North who admitted she had broken the law said she paid rent for her private clinic by giving Botox injections to the owner.
A family physician from the Petah Tikva area admitted earning hundreds of thousands of shekels from Botox and hyaluronic acid injections that make people look younger. A Jerusalem-area dentist was found to have unreported income from his clinic of NIS 3.3m.
His books were seized and a criminal case was opened against him.
Another serious phenomenon was the doctors’ deduction of personal expenses as legitimate business expenses, a crime that cost taxpayers millions of shekels, the Tax Authority said on Wednesday.
Some typical examples: a woman doctor in the center of the country deducted half a million shekels in legal expenses for the sale of her Caesarea home; a dentist from the Haifa area regularly deducted all his private expenditures for food for his family from the supermarket, from restaurants and cafes, and even his cable TV service. He explained to the authorities that he was “forced” to break the law to pay off an expense of NIS 500,000 for getting a divorce from his wife.
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