SINGAPORE: A wholesale trader has been sentenced to six weeks’ jail and ordered to pay a penalty of about S$300,000 for cheating the taxman in Goods and Services Tax (GST) refunds.
Seow Ming Liang, 30, is the first to be charged with giving false information in the voluntary registration for GST for his business.
He is the sole proprietor of Geek Enterprise, formerly known as Etechz Solutions, which deals in wholesale import and export of computer component parts.
Seow first committed the offences in 2010, when he applied to register his business for GST on a voluntary basis.
He made a false entry in the registration form by stating that he would be making taxable supplies of S$300,000 in the next 12 months, when he did not conduct any business at all.
In his first GST return for the accounting period from 1 to 31 July 2010, Seow made false entries, resulting in net GST refund claims of about S$35,000 which he was not entitled to.
He lied to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) that he would be buying taxable supplies worth $300,000, in the next 12 months.
GST—registered businesses can offset the tax they pay, against the tax they receive from sales.
But if they pay more GST on purchases, businesses can ask IRAS for refunds.
Seow opted to receive GST refunds from IRAS on a monthly basis, instead of the usual quarterly period.
On August 1, 2010, Seow went on to claim the refund of about $35,00 for purchases of goods he did not make.
Seow had also forged sales and purchases records when the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) asked for documents to support his claim for GST refunds.
Seow pleaded guilty to three charges, while one remaining charge was taken into consideration during sentencing.
He has been been making monthly payments of S$200 to IRAS since December 2010 to settle the penalty.
He has paid about S$8,200 so far.
GST registration is compulsory for businesses whose annual taxable turnover exceeds S$1 million, or is expected to exceed S$1 million in the next 12 months.
Businesses whose taxable turnover does not exceed S$1 million may choose to register for GST on a voluntary basis.
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