SINGAPORE - A wholesaler of souvenirs and gifts was sentenced to one week's jail and a fine of $134,214.96 for fraudulent evasion of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and for furnishing false information to Singapore Customs.
Xie Yuan, 30, director of Nu Gift Private Limited, pleaded guilty to two charges while another three charges were taken into consideration in the sentencing.
Investigations by Singapore Customs revealed that Xie had arranged for a company in Hong Kong, Guangzhou Enyou Gift Co Limited, to be registered under the name of his girlfriend to purchase goods from China and export them to Nu Gift Private Limited in Singapore.
Xie, who had full control of the operations of Guangzhou Enyou Gift Co Limited, created fictitious invoices with lower values for the goods imported by Nu Gift Private Limited.
Between June 2014 and November 2015, Xie had under-declared the import values of goods such as mirrors, magnets, key chains, canvas bags, coasters, and umbrellas he imported on four occasions.
The under-declaration of the import values of these goods resulted in a shortfall of more than $26,000 in GST payment.
In the course of investigations, when Xie was asked to account for the values declared in the import permits, he told the Singapore Customs investigation officer that there were no invoices for the goods.
He then made a self-declaration of the import values, which were slightly higher than what had been falsely declared in the import permits, in an attempt to mislead the investigation officer that the evaded amount was not huge.
By doing this, he had hoped to receive a lighter penalty for his offences. It was subsequently established that Xie's self-declared values of the imported goods were false.
"Xie's attempt of fraudulent evasion of GST payment has resulted in him having to pay a higher price now," said Ms Fauziah Sani, head of Trade Investigation Branch of Singapore Customs.
"Importers who try to cheat on GST payment, like Xie, will have to face the law."
Anyone found guilty of fraudulent evasion of GST will be liable to a fine up to 20 times the amount of tax evaded, jailed for up to two years, or both.
For the furnishing of false information, anyone found guilty will be liable to a fine of up to $5,000 or up to 12 months of prison, or both.
Members of the public with information on smuggling activities or evasion of customs duty or GST can contact Singapore Customs at 1800-2330000, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the Customs@SG mobile app (which can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play) to report these illegal activities.