10 weeks' jail, $4,000 fine and $262,000 penalties for woman who evaded GST and taxes

SINGAPORE - A woman has been sentenced to 10 weeks' jail and a $4,000 fine for evading income tax and goods and services tax (GST).

She also has to pay penalties totalling $262,075.36.

Lin Shaohua, a 50-year-old permanent resident, was the precedent partner of two furniture businesses, Furniture Collection Centre and Yang Hua Furniture Trading.

In a statement on Friday, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) said Lin failed to register for GST when Furniture Collection Centre's taxable supplies exceeded $1 million by the quarter ending June 2010, which had resulted in $246,490 of GST undercharged.

All businesses with 12-month taxable turnover that exceeds $1 million at the end of the calendar year are required to apply for GST registration within 30 days.

She had also wilfully and intentionally under-reported her share of partnership profits amounting to $444,870 in her income tax returns for the year of assessment 2016.

Lin said in her statements that she did not want to register the businesses for GST as it would affect their profitability and competitiveness.

For the income tax evasion, Lin was sentenced to 10 weeks' jail and a penalty of $237,426.39 - three times the amount of income tax she evaded.

In addition, Lin received a penalty of $24,648.97 and a fine of $4,000 for failing to register Furniture Collection Centre for GST.

Two other charges were taken into consideration during sentencing. One involved Lin under-reporting income tax returns for the year of assessment 2015, while the other involved failure to register Yang Hua Furniture Trading for GST in 2012.

Lin's lawyers, Mr Patrick Tan and Mr Andrew Wong of Fortis Law Corporation, said that she will be appealing against her jail sentence.

Iras warned that there are severe penalties for those who wilfully evade tax, including a penalty of up to four times the amount of tax evaded, and jail.

Those who help the authorities bring errant businesses and individuals to task can inform Iras confidentially, and will be rewarded with up to 15 per cent of the tax recovered, capped at $100,000.

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