Owner of casket firm ordered to pay more than $250,000 in penalties for tax-related offences

William Quek Soo Chek, 60, sole proprietor of Union Casket, was also fined $4,000 after he pleaded guilty to one count of giving incorrect information on his GST registration form without a reasonable excuse.
William Quek Soo Chek, 60, sole proprietor of Union Casket, was also fined $4,000 after he pleaded guilty to one count of giving incorrect information on his GST registration form without a reasonable excuse.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - The owner of a funeral service firm who committed tax-related offences was, on Thursday (March 7), ordered to pay more than $250,000 in penalties, double the amount of taxes undercharged.

William Quek Soo Chek, 60, sole proprietor of Union Casket, was also fined $4,000 after he pleaded guilty to one count of giving incorrect information on his Goods and Services Tax (GST) registration form without a reasonable excuse.

He also admitted that he had submitted an incorrect income tax return for the 2011 year of assessment.

Besides the fines and penalties, Quek had to pay more than $130,000 in backdated taxes to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras).

In a statement, Iras said that this was its first prosecution case against a member of the funeral industry.

Quek applied to register his firm for GST on Feb 10, 2006. However, he gave incorrect information on the form, claiming that Union Casket's taxable supplies exceeded $1 million in the quarter ending December 2005. In reality, such supplies exceeded the $1 million threshold in December 2002.

The false claim resulted in more than $120,000 in undercharged taxes.

Investigations also revealed that Quek had incorrectly included his private car expenses as part of his deductable expenses in his income tax return for the 2011 year of assessment to lower his tax liability.

On Thursday, tax prosecutor Ma Hanfeng told the court that the private car expenses claimed by Quek were prohibited from deduction under the Income Tax Act.

The prosecutor added that this false entry led to undercharged tax amounting to more than $3,000.

Iras said in its statement: "Any business that gives incorrect information in its GST registration form or return without reasonable excuse may be liable to a penalty that is twice the amount of tax undercharged. A fine and/or a jail term may also be imposed."