SINGAPORE: Loh Chia Wei (“Loh”), 48, a director of Print Orient Pte Ltd (“Print Orient”), has been sentenced by the Court to 9 months of imprisonment and ordered to pay penalties totalling $253,195, after being convicted of offences involving Goods and Services Tax (“GST”) evasion, Corporate Income Tax evasion, money laundering and cheating.
Despite Print Orient being GST-registered, Loh had conducted cash sales with Print Orient’s customers without accounting for them in both the Income Tax and GST returns of Print Orient. He deliberately omitted to do so with the intention to evade tax. This resulted in $110,119 of GST undercharged between 1 May 2011 to 31 October 2017 and $69,391 of Corporate Income Taxes undercharged between Year of Assessment (“YA”) 2013 to YA 2017.
Loh faced a total of 31 charges for tax offences, out of which 10 were proceeded with and the remaining 21 were taken into consideration for the purposes of sentencing.
In addition, sometime in August 2013, Loh had instigated his staff to alter inventory figures to inflate the profits of Print Orient in the company’s management accounts for the financial year ending 31 October 2012. Loh then emailed the management accounts containing the inflated profits to Maybank Singapore Limited (“Maybank”), in an attempt to dishonestly induce Maybank into approving Print Orient’s loan application.
The Court imposed the following sentences on Loh for the proceeded charges:
- For 8 counts of making false entries in the GST returns of Print Orient, Loh was sentenced to 1 month’s imprisonment for each offence, and a total penalty of $174,679 which is three times the amount of tax undercharged;
- For 1 count of abetting the company in making a false entry in the Corporate Income Tax return of Print Orient in YA 2013, Loh was sentenced to 1 month’s imprisonment and ordered to pay a penalty of $58,914 which is three times the amount of tax undercharged;
- For 1 count of making false entries in the Corporate Income Tax returns of Print Orient in YA 2017, Loh was sentenced to 2 weeks’ imprisonment and ordered to pay a penalty of $19,602 which is three times the amount of tax undercharged;
- For 1 count of money laundering by using the underdeclared sales of Print Orient to pay for his HDB loan and the downpayment for his condominium and vehicle, totalling more than $400,000, Loh was sentenced to 6 months’ imprisonment; and
- For 1 count of attempting to cheat Maybank into approving Print Orient’s loan application using Print Orient’s falsified management accounts, Loh was sentenced to 6 months’ imprisonment.
- For 8 counts of making false entries in its GST returns, the Court also ordered Print Orient to pay a fine of $20,000 and a penalty of $174,679, which is three times the amount of taxes undercharged.
Penalties for Non-Compliance
IRAS Warns Against Tax Evasion
IRAS takes a serious view of non-compliance and tax evasion. 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.
Money Laundering and Criminal Offences
It is an offence under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act for any person to acquire, possess, use, conceal or transfer benefits derived from criminal conduct. Upon conviction, offenders are liable to be punished with a fine not exceeding $500,000, an imprisonment term not exceeding 10 years, or both.
For cheating, offenders shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years and shall also be liable to a fine.