Tag Archives: Tax Evasion

Singapore GST – Former Singapore Customs Officer Jailed for Fraudulently Obtaining GST Tourist Refunds


It was reported in IRAS’ website on 20 April 2018 that Ms. Pang Yeow Biah, who was a former Singapore Customs Officer, was charged for fraudulently obtaining GST tourist refunds under the electronic tourist refund scheme (“eTRS”).

Between 2012 and 2014, Pang was a Singapore Customs officer who was deployed at the GST Refund Inspection Counter at Changi Airport.  Her main duty was to process GST refund claims made by tourists leaving Singapore.  When the opportunity arose during her course of work, she would take the details of these “rejected” GST refund claims and use the eTRS system to electronically process the GST refunds into her own credit cards or credit cards that were under her control.  In addition, Pang had used the eTRS self-help kiosks to obtain the GST refunds which she was not entitled to.

The GST refunds were obtained through Pang’s misuse of two credit cards that were registered in her son’s ex-girlfriend’s name but under Pang’s control.  Pang then used the GST refunds to repay her own credit card debts.

Pang pleaded guilty to 10 charges of fraudulently obtaining GST tourist refunds amounting to $8,302.05 under section 62(1)(e) of the GST Act and three charges under section 47(1)(c) of the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act (“CDSA”).

The court sentenced Pang to 15 months’ imprisonment and a penalty of $24,906.15, which is 3X  the amount of tax defrauded. Pang was sentenced to 4 weeks’ imprisonment for her CDSA offences, resulting in a total sentence of 15 months and 4 weeks’ imprisonment.

Message from Singapore Customs and IRAS

  1.   Measures such as built-in system checks are in place to identify cases to be selected for further inspection. Through data analytics, IRAS and Singapore Customs are able to detect suspicious GST refund claims and fraudulent activities.
  2. Singapore has always adopted a zero-tolerance approach towards tax fraud, money laundering, and other criminal activities. The authorities take a serious view of such criminal practices and will take swift action against any individuals and parties involved.

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Income Tax – Three individuals to be charged for tax evasion of rental income


It was reported on IRAS’ website on 16 March 2018 that 3 individuals were charged in the court in 2 separate cases for tax evasion on their rental income.

  • 2 persons were charged on 16 March 2018, for the omission of rental income from their tax returns.  More specifically, one of them faced 4 charges involving omitted rental income amounting to $411,252 for Years of Assessment (YAs) 2010 to 2013 which resulted in a total of $69,065.20 in tax undercharged. The other faced 3 charges involving omitted rental income amounting to $299,769 for YAs 2012 to 2014 which resulted in a total of $52,854.75 in tax undercharged. In addition, this individual will face another charge for the non-filing of his income tax returns.
  • One would be charged on 13 April 2018  for submitting falsified invoices to IRAS to support claims made for rental expenses between YAs 2009 to 2013. The individual will face 5 charges involving the submission of falsified invoices that amounted to $284,308.52. This resulted in a total of $56,499.91 in taxes undercharged.

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Income Tax – Director of metal stamping company to be charged for tax evasion


It was reported in IRAS’ website on 22 March 2018 that a company director was charged in court for assisting his company to evade tax.  He faced 5 charges involving the making of false entries in his company’s income tax returns from Years of Assessment (YAs) 2009 to 2013, which resulted in $648,427.90 in tax undercharged.

In addition, he will face 17 charges for without reasonable excuse, making an incorrect return by understating output tax in his company’s GST returns amounting to $266,870.58 during the same period.

What does this mean to you?

Upon conviction, he may face a penalty of two times the amount of tax undercharged, and a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to both.

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Singapore GST – Company Director Convicted for Unlawful GST Collection


It was reported in IRAS’ website on 19 Jan 2018 that Kumarselvam S/O Veejay Koumar, who was a director of MV Global Trading Pte Ltd, flouted the law when his company unlawfully charged GST on a total of 102 sales invoices issued to its customers.

IRAS’ investigations revealed that MV was not GST-registered and Kumarselvam knew that this is the case.  The offenses were detected only because of IRAS’ efforts in conducting checks on businesses before allowing any business to register for GST. Investigations further revealed that Kumarselvam was the person in charge of managing and overseeing MV’s operations at the relevant time.  He had personally prepared and issued 3 of the 34 sales invoices and instructed his staff to prepare and issue the other sales invoices to customers, which charged the prevailing rate of GST on these sales. The “GST” amount was reflected on the said invoices issued.

As MV was not GST-registered, it did not file any GST returns or account for the “GST” collected from MV’s customers to the Comptroller of GST.

In the end, Kumarsalvam pleaded guilty to the 34 charges proceeded on. For being a director when MV unlawfully charged $3,791.21 as GST, the court sentenced Kumarselvam to a penalty of $11,373.63, which is 3X the amount shown as tax, and a fine totaling $51,000. In default of paying the penalty and fine, he has to serve a total of 125 days’ imprisonment. Another 68 similar charges were taken into consideration in sentencing.

What does this mean to you? 

It is a serious offense for businesses that are not GST-registered to charge and collect GST from their customers. Offenders face a penalty of three times the amount of tax unlawfully collected and a fine of up to $10,000 for each offense.

Please take note that IRAS conducts audits to identify non-compliance with GST laws, including checks on whether businesses charge and collect GST correctly.

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Singapore GST – Businessman Guilty of GST Fraud, Sentenced to 24 Weeks’ Imprisonment


It was reported in the IRAS’  website on 20 October 2017 that
Foo Tee Suan (“Foo”), who was the sole-proprietor of FTH Enterprise (“FTH”), partner of F&T Top System Enterprise (“F&T”) and Hwa Rong Import & Export (“HRIE”) and director of Hwa Rong Enterprise Pte Ltd (“HREPL”), has been convicted of making false entries in the GST returns of the four business entities which resulted in GST refunds totalling $458,019.69.

One of Foo’s business entities, F&T, was audited by IRAS during one of its regular audits of GST-registered businesses. During the course of the audit, IRAS’ auditors discovered that Foo had made false entries in the GST returns of F&T. The audit further discovered that Foo had also made false entries in the GST returns of three other business entities that he was involved in.

Foo’s scheme to commit GST tax fraud first began with a suggestion from Eric Chia Puay Yeoh (“Chia”), who was convicted in July 2014 of masterminding a complex GST scam using multiple shell entities. Chia suggested to Foo to voluntarily register his export business, FTH Enterprise (FTH), for GST so that FTH could claim fictitious GST refunds. Thereafter, Foo set up three other entities that were all shell companies without any business transactions.

Foo, with willful intent to evade tax, signed blank GST return forms for the four business entities and provided Chia with his SingPass in order for Chia to e-file the GST return forms for the four business entities. To illegally obtain GST refunds, Chia declared fictitious figures in the GST returns and fraudulently claimed a total of $457,749.59 in GST refunds. Foo benefitted from the fictitious GST refunds that Chia obtained and used some of the GST refund monies for his own personal expenses.

Foo faced a total of 54 GST charges of wilful intent to evade tax by making false entries in the GST returns of the four business entities. He pleaded guilty to 18 out of the 54 GST evasion charges, involving a total GST amount of $172,314.90 undercharged, with the other 36 remaining GST evasion charges being taken into consideration for the purposes of sentencing. The Court sentenced Foo to 24 weeks’ imprisonment and ordered him to pay a penalty of $516,944.70, three times the amount of tax undercharged.

What does this mean to you?

GST-registered businesses are allowed to offset the GST they pay for their purchases (input tax) against the GST they collect from sales (output tax). They pay the net difference to IRAS. Those that incur more GST on purchases than they collect from their sales can claim the difference from IRAS in the form of GST refunds.

It is a serious offense to claim GST input tax on fictitious purchases or understate output tax on sales. Offenders face a penalty of three times the amount of tax undercharged, a fine not exceeding $10,000, and/or imprisonment of up to seven years.

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