Medical consultant loses appeal over €320,000 tax bill

Tax appeals commission rules recorded salaries paid to company directors ‘had no basis’ in fact

A locum hospital consultant and her medical services firm must pay a combined tax bill of €319,259 after losing their battle with the Revenue Commissioners.

The Tax Appeals Commission (TAC) found that the consultant must pay €167,804 in income tax and her firm a further €151,455 in income tax, PRSI, universal social charge and local property tax for the years 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

The consultant’s firm received combined pay from the HSE of €805,459 from 2014 to 2018, including a payout of €271,228 in 2018. Yet, during those years, the consultant’s pay from her medical services firm was €245,219 that included only €48,882 in 2018 while a second director received cumulative pay of €107,350. The company also reduced its tax bill by claiming cumulative deductions of €266,121.

The Tax Appeals Commission in general does not name people in cases it rules on.


The medic started working in Ireland in 2006 and worked for the HSE as a non-consultant hospital doctor (NCHD) in a variety of hospitals until 2014.

Before setting up her medical services firm in 2014, the medic’s HSE pay was €108,718 in 2011, €104,592 in 2012 and €95,810 in 2013 – significantly higher than when her pay was routed to her through her medical services company. A Revenue official told the TAC hearing that Revenue commenced the audit as a consequence of the gulf between the turnover of the woman’s company and the remuneration paid by it to the medical consultant.

In correspondence, Revenue told the medic that the salaries for the two directors entered on returns and accounts “had no basis” in fact and issued the consultant and her firm with a tax bill of €167,804 to her and €151,455 to her company.

The medic and the firm lodged appeals to the TAC against the assessments. However, commissioner Conor O’Higgins ruled that the Revenue assessments “are correct and stand affirmed”. Mr O’Higgins found that on the balance of probabilities the second director was never paid the total sum of €107,350. He found that the sums to the second director were in fact withdrawn by the Appellant for the purpose of remunerating herself.

Mr O’Higgins found that the salary recorded as having been paid to the consultant by her company “was well below that which could reasonably have been expected by a doctor of the Appellant’s expertise and seniority”.

The Commissioner also found that the costs borne by the company on behalf of the consultant relating, firstly, to her travel from home to the hospitals at which she worked as a locum consultant and, secondly, her accommodation in proximity to those hospitals, cannot be treated as deductible expenses.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times