SINGAPORE: A company manager has pleaded guilty to unlawfully charging customers Goods and Services Tax (GST) and was ordered to pay S$136,118.40 in penalties and fines.
The amount is more than six times the amount of S$19,772.80 that Soh Kay Hee, a manager at Presido International, had slapped on customers.
In a statement on Friday, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) said if Soh is unable to pay the penalties and fines, he has to serve 10 months (320 days) in jail.
The statement said Presido is a wholesale business selling security and fire-fighting equipment, with Soh's wife Goh Ka Cheng listed as its sole proprietor, though she was not involved in running the business.
Neither Soh nor Goh were GST-registered persons, and Soh had used Presido's previous sole proprietor's GST registration number on the invoices he issued.
As Soh and his wife are not GST-registered persons, Soh did not file any GST returns nor report the amount he collected to the GST Comptroller.
IRAS said sometime in 2002, Soh realised that Presido did not have to submit any GST forms, and checked IRAS website and found out that Presido was not registered for GST.
Soh then sought advice from the Taxpayer Service Centre at Revenue House and was advised to refund the wrongfully collected money to customers.
But Soh did not refund the money, admitting later that he used the money for his business and family expenses.
IRAS said the money that Soh had collected unlawfully on 1,095 sales invoices amounted to S$68,000, but it proceeded with 64 charges involving $19,772.80.
It said it compounded some of Soh's offences for $81,760.78, which was more than twice the amount involved in the offences.
IRAS said it uncovered Soh's offences, committed from Nov 21, 2002 to Jun 11, 2010, in a regular audit.
It warned that it is an offence for non GST-registered businesses to issue tax invoices charging and collecting GST on their sales.
Offenders face a penalty of three times the amount of tax shown on the invoice and are liable to a fine of up to S$10,000. - CNA/nd
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