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Sole-proprietor sentenced to 8 weeks’ jail for GST evasion



Avan Yong Yan Hwa ("Yong"), a sole-proprietor buying and selling mobile phones and accessories under the business name "HomeGround Trading", was sentenced to eight weeks' jail for under-reporting the Goods and Services Tax (GST) collected in his GST returns. He was also ordered to pay a penalty of $109,102.77, three times the amount of GST evaded. 


Under-reporting of GST  
IRAS detected anomalies in the declarations made by Yong in his GST returns during its regular audits of GST-registered businesses.


IRAS' investigations revealed that Yong had deliberately omitted to account for the GST collected (or output tax) from his customers in nine GST monthly returns for November 2011, and from January 2012 to August 2012. He had issued manual invoices to some customers instead of the usual computerised ones, with wilful intent to exclude these sales amounts and corresponding GST collected in his GST returns to IRAS. The total GST amount under-declared was $53,433.80.


Charges Against Sole-proprietor  
Yong faced a total of nine GST evasion charges for under-reporting $53,433.80 in his GST returns. He pleaded guilty to three charges, involving a total GST amount of $36,367.59. The remaining six charges were taken into consideration in the sentencing.


Severe Penalties for Fraudulent GST Claims 
It is a serious offence to understate output tax on sales or claim input tax on fictitious purchases. Offenders face a penalty of up to 3 times the amount of tax undercharged, a fine not exceeding $10,000, and/or imprisonment of up to 7 years.


Soure: IRAS, 20 March 2015  

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