Undertaker Roland Tay charged with tax evasion, failing to register business for GST

Roland Tay was handed three charges of understating his income to evade tax and another count under the GST Act. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - Well-known local undertaker Roland Tay Hai Choon was on Friday charged in court for income tax evasion of more than $427,000 and for failing to register his business for goods and services tax (GST).

The 75-year-old founder of Direct Funeral Services was handed three charges of understating his income to evade tax and another count under the GST Act.

According to court documents, he allegedly understated his income by over $2.2 million for three years, between 2011 and 2013. As a result, he is said to have failed to pay an additional $427,427 to the taxman.

Separately, he is accused of failing to notify the Comptroller of GST of his company's liability to register for GST in 2010, resulting in $286,963 in tax that was not accounted for.

If convicted of making a false statement in a tax return, Tay can be jailed for up to three years, fined up to $10,000 or both. He will also be liable for a penalty three times the amount of tax that was undercharged.

Businesses that fail to register for GST can be fined up to $10,000 and face a penalty equal to 10 per cent of the tax due from the date on which the business is required to register for GST.

Tay is out on $80,000 bail. His case will be heard again on Oct 18.

In a statement on Friday, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) said Tay’s alleged offences were uncovered through one of its regular audit programmes.

The agency urged businesses or individuals to disclose any past tax mistakes immediately.

“Iras will treat such disclosures as mitigating factors when considering actions to be taken,” it said.

Tay is known for arranging free funerals for murder victims, the poor and the destitute.

He provided funeral services for victims such as Huang Na, an eight-year-old girl from China who went missing in October 2004.

Her naked body was found three weeks later in a cardboard box at Telok Blangah Hill Park. Her mother's co-worker, Took Leng How, was found guilty of murder and hanged in November 2006.

When Ah Meng, Singapore's famous orangutan, died in 2008, Tay donated a white human-size coffin for the funeral.

In 2009, Tay was sentenced to six months' jail for criminal intimidation and for his role in beating up a former business partner. He had swung a crowbar at the victim and threatened to kill him in an altercation in Lavender Street in 2007.

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