Dodgy Doctors

Oct 23, 2007 (LBO) – Some Sri Lankan doctors who work long hours attending to other people’s health, hide their wealth so well that they pay income tax on less than half their earnings, it was revealed at a recent investor forum. A health care professional working for a pharmaceuticals company told the forum organized by a stock broking firm that he was aware some doctors prefer to pay income tax on only 30 percent of their total income.

The remark was made during a discussion on how a doctor’s reputation can support a hospital’s ability to draw patients.

The speaker said doctors are known to put in long hours of work and feel they should not be highly taxed.

“Doctors do not want to forego paying income tax but with the type of workload that is handled, they prefer to pay income tax for a part of what they earn,” the official said.

Sri Lankan doctors on the staff of state-owned hospitals are allowed to engage in private practice which is usually a gruelling task.

But the business is mostly done in cash with little or no documentary trail to the hospitals they work in.

Private ‘channelling’, as it is known, costs around 300 to 400 rupees per person per appointment but it can increase depending on th