Guildhall Surgery, Guildhall Street, Folkestone sits in the most deprived ward across all indicators in Shepway. The main practitioners there are Dr Mohammed Altaf Hossain and Dr Abu Yousuf Fazlul Karim.
Since the 28 March 2007 both Doctors have been members of The Invicta Film Partnership No.37, LLP.
The film partnership schemes were offered tax breaks in 1997 when Gordon Brown was chancellor, to encourage investment in the British film industry. The cost of the schemes in tax relief to the Treasury was just £10m in the first year, but they soon ballooned to £500m a year.
A HMRC document noted that there had been a “considerable amount of tax avoidance, where the reliefs have been used in ways that were not intended”.
By 2012, HMRC, warned in an off-the-record briefing that was alluded to in court that film schemes were a “£5bn risk” for the tax authorities. The Invicta Film Partnership No 37 LLP, which ploughed funds into the James Bond film Casino Royale. were informed by HMRC that No 37 was on the HMRC list published in July 2014.
The two Doctors, Hossain and Karim along with many others were informed that they would have to pay back the money as the schemes were a form of tax avoidance. As Doctors they avoided paying tax, so thus deprived the NHS of much needed tax revenue. They, the Doctors, practice in the poorest ward of Shepway, where the health indicator clearly states that health issues are at there worst, Click →Deprivation .
In essence Tax avoidance by the Doctors and all the others participants in No 37 and other tax avoidance vehicles have contributed to HMRC bringing in less tax revenue, so affecting the health, education, life expectancy of patients, pupils etc in the UK per se.
Although the Hippocratic Oath does not say outright that Doctors should not harm their patients, it engenders that spirit. By avoiding tax, we at Shepwayvox believe that the Doctors, Hossain and Karim have harmed their patients. We believe that tax avoidance damages the fabric of our society and the individuals who make up society.
In a time of Austerity we believe every penny is needed, so that the lights stay on when you walk your children home from school on dark winter nights. Or when a family member needs medicine but due to cut backs the NHS cannot afford it. We believe that these two Doctors along with many others who work in and for the NHS should pay their taxes like a good deal of hardworking people in and across Shepway and Beyond.
Tax is a moral issue. Not because we should take pleasure in paying tax but because the behaviour of well off people, and large companies, should conform to the expectations of most reasonable people. It is not just the rule of law but also a sense of shared values that makes economic and social life possible in the modern state. That is why multinational businesses should not engage in transactions without commercial substance; and why Doctors, Celebrities, Footballers etc, faced with large tax bills as a result of failed avoidance schemes deserve what they get.
No 37 was a failed tax avoidance scheme and the Doctors rightly got what they deserved.