Woman gets more than 9 months' jail, ordered to pay $1.2m penalty for helping pubs evade taxes

SINGAPORE - A woman has been sentenced to more than nine months' jail and ordered to pay a penalty of more than $1.2 million for helping two pubs evade income tax and goods and services tax (GST).

In a statement on Wednesday (April 8), the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) said that Ann Phua Si Si, 53, helped Moonshine Roadhouse and Peyton Place Cafe Lounge, both in Orchard, evade taxes totalling $1.09 million between March 2009 and March 2013.

Of the $1,090,503.98 of tax evaded, Phua has only repaid $36,768.98. She must pay the remaining amount on top of the penalty of $1,227,948.

The authority's investigations found that Phua did not include cash sales which were made without receipts or through drink promoters from the income tax and GST returns of both pubs.

These cash sales would not be keyed into the cash register but written down on pieces of paper. Phua then ensured that these sales were excluded when preparing the income tax and GST returns.

This meant that the submitted returns on both taxes were false.

Phua managed this even though she was neither a shareholder nor a director at either pub. She paid others a monthly salary of between $500 and $1,000 to use their names to be listed as shareholders and directors when she in fact made business decisions and had control over the pubs' bank accounts, Iras said.

For income tax evasion, the court sentenced Phua to one week's imprisonment and ordered her to pay a penalty of $65,942, three times the amount of income tax evaded in two proceeded charges.

For GST evasion, Phua was sentenced to 40 weeks' imprisonment and ordered to pay a penalty of $1,162,006, also three times the amount of GST evaded in eight proceeded charges.

 
 
 

Iras said that it takes a serious view of non-compliance and tax evasion and that there will be severe penalties for those who wilfully evade tax.

Those who flout the rules may face a penalty of up to four times the amount of tax evaded and jailed.

Those who help the authorities bring errant businesses and individuals to task will be rewarded with 15 per cent of the tax recovered, capped at $100,000. All payments are at the discretion of the Comptroller and Iras will ensure that the identities of informants are kept strictly confidential.