Of tax evaders and Iras impersonators

TAX EVADERS

Two landlords were prosecuted by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) in December last year for omitting to declare rental income amounting to $325,205 and $299,769 between 2011 and 2014.

The landlords co-owned 11 commercial and residential properties that were rented to various tenants. One of them also owned or co-owned five other residential and commercial properties.

The pair were convicted and faced a penalty of double the amount of taxes owed - which totalled $112,911 for one of them and $105,709 for the other. In addition, they had to pay $9,000 and $7,500 in fines.

The Iras said: "There will be severe penalties for those who wilfully evade tax. The authority will not hesitate to bring offenders to court. Penalties can be up to four times the amount of tax evaded. Jail terms may also be imposed."

IRAS IMPERSONATORS

Some people have alerted Iras that they received suspicious calls from people claiming to be its officers.

These scammers usually highlight supposed tax filing mistakes made by the individuals, and ask that they pay their outstanding taxes to a designated bank account, or provide their credit card numbers in order to get a tax refund.

In recent instances, the telephone numbers displayed on the caller IDs included "97812000" and "63568387".

In some cases, the scammers were able to mask their real numbers and instead manipulate Iras' caller ID using caller ID spoofing technology.

The Iras warned the public to ignore such calls. Those who have fallen victim should lodge police reports.

Here are three things to take note of if you receive such calls:

 • Be vigilant. The Iras will not ask you to make a payment to a third party's bank account through a telephone call. It also does not offer payment options by "iTunes credits" or "Steam credits".

 • Do not transfer any money to the caller, either via remittance agencies, banks or any other means.

 • Do not provide personal information such as name, identification number, passport number, bank account or credit card details to the caller.

The taxman will also not ask for confidential personal details through calls or e-mails.

Confidential documents, such as tax return forms, notices of assessment, refund letters or other tax statements, will not be sent via e-mail unless specifically requested by the taxpayer.

Confidential documents are deposited in the secured tax portal mytax.iras.gov.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 14, 2019, with the headline 'Of tax evaders and Iras impersonators'. Print Edition | Subscribe