Tax-evading doctor jailed

By a staff reporter

A privately-practising doctor has been jailed for 18 months for evading nearly £186,000 in tax.

Dr Michael Summer told HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigators that he ‘wasn’t good with numbers’, yet could afford private schooling, luxury holidays and extensive home renovations.

During a four-year period, he earned over £750,000, yet declared and paid income tax and National Insurance on only half of it.

The evasion was discovered as part of the HMRC Tax Health Plan campaign – reported extensively in Independent Practitioner Today – to tackle undeclared tax and income from doctors and dentists.

After the case, Stuart Taylor, HMRC assistant director of criminal investigation, warned: ‘Sup­pressing your true income to reduce your tax bill will not be tolerated by HMRC or the public, most of whom pay what is due, when it is due.

‘Michael Summer spent vast sums on a luxury lifestyle – on his home, his holidays and even his car. We will not cease in our efforts to track down those who deliberately, and fraudulently, seek to gain a financial advantage over honest businesses.

‘If Summer had come forward in 2010 and used the voluntary disclosure campaign to put his affairs in order, it would have been much less costly for him.’

Dr Summer, aged 46, of Main Street, Ratby, Leicestershire, worked in the private sector, preparing medical examination reports for insurance companies and the armed forces.

He did this on a self-employed basis, and submitted a self-assessment tax return through his accountant each year. In his first fraudulent return for 2008-09, he under-declared his annual income by almost £12,000, but by the time of his 2011-12 return, this figure had risen to £195,000.

He was arrested in February 2014, and claimed he didn’t know exactly what he was earning or spending. But he did admit during questioning that he had not provided his accountant with his true income.

Later he admitted four offences of evading income tax at Leicester Crown Court, where he was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment on each charge, to run concurrently.

HMRC said confiscation action will follow to recover the tax Dr Summer failed to pay.

The court heard that he has already made a payment of £100,000, which will be held on account pending the confiscation process.

HMRC said he under-declared his income by £11,772 in 2008-09, £103,000 in 2009-10 and £102,462 in 2010-11. He failed to declare £195,224 in 2011-12.

The total income tax and National Insurance evaded was £185,985.

Five years ago, HMRC launched a campaign encouraging doctors and other medical professionals to declare their unpaid tax under more favourable terms.

Those affected had until June 2010 to come forward. To date, the campaign has raised total revenue of over £64m.