Man ordered to pay more than $1 million in penalties over tax-related offences

Koh Che Song pleaded guilty to 16 charges involving both income tax and GST-related offences. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - One of the partners in a firm dealing with glass-reinforced concrete has been ordered to pay penalties totalling more than $1 million over tax-related offences.

On top of this, Koh Che Song, 77, must also pay a fine of $26,000.

Koh is a partner in Unique International Agencies (UIA) which also deals with the leasing of a warehouse.

The location of the warehouse was not disclosed in court documents.

On Monday (Aug 3), Koh pleaded guilty to 16 charges involving both income tax and goods and services tax (GST)-related offences.

The court heard that Koh, who appeared in court in a wheelchair, will pay the amounts in instalments.

He will have to spend more than 500 days behind bars if he is unable to pay up.

Koh and his business partner Yeo Soh Khim, 62, admitted that they under-reported more than $2 million in net income for their company's income tax returns for the years of assessment 2012 to 2016.

Koh's offences led to $439,768 in taxes undercharged while Yeo's led to $28,157 in undercharged taxes.

The Singaporean pair had also understated the company's net GST payable totalling $82,620 in returns for 11 quarters between 2011 and 2016.

Tax prosecutor Ma Hanfeng from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) told the court on Monday that Koh had, without reasonable excuse, given incorrect information on UIA's tax-related matters.

Koh Che Song's business partner Yeo Soh Khim. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

For instance, the firm's net income figures were false due to matters including the omission of both the rental income from the leasing of the warehouse and the local sales of glass-reinforced concrete amounting to more than $1 million.

In a statement on Monday, Iras said that it takes a serious view of non-compliance and tax evasion.

It added: "There will be severe penalties for those who wilfully evade tax. The authority will not hesitate to bring offenders to court."

Offenders may face a penalty of up to four times the amount of tax evaded. Jail terms may also be imposed, said Iras.

It also said that businesses or individuals are encouraged to immediately disclose any past tax mistakes.

Iras will then treat such disclosures as mitigating factors when considering action to be taken.

Yeo pleaded guilty on Monday to six charges involving both income tax and GST-related offences. She will be sentenced on Sept 7.

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