Thursday, 22 Oct 2020

Owner of car dealership fined $418,000 for role in conspiracy to evade GST and excise duty

SINGAPORE – The owner of a car dealership, who worked with three other motor vehicle traders to suppress the value of vehicles imported into Singapore, was fined $418,000 on Thursday (Oct 1) for his role in the conspiracy.

The Singapore Customs said in a statement on Friday that the motor traders made the false declarations to evade excise duty and goods and services tax (GST).

Tan Wee Leng, who is the sole proprietor of car dealer Zion Auto Imports, was also sentenced for failing to retain documents and records relating to the importation of motor vehicles without reasonable excuse.

The total duty and GST underpaid by Tan amounted to $117,060 and $49,160 respectively.

The 43-year-old Singaporean pleaded guilty to two charges, while another three charges were taken into consideration during sentencing. Singapore Customs said Tan also voluntarily surrendered $34,000, which was the profit he made.

The authorities had in May 2015 discovered discrepancies in the declaration of facts submitted by his company and another motor vehicle trader.

These pertained to the duty and GST payments on the motor vehicles the companies were handling.

Singapore Customs learnt that Tan was engaged by a Sunil Kishinchand Bhojwani of T Kishen – a vehicle import and export company – to apply for duty payment permits with suppressed values.

Between March and May in 2015, Tan filed permits for 56 motor vehicles. For each permit, Sunil paid him $2,000 for his help.

A second vehicle trader, Tang Luan Yew, was also engaged by Sunil to fraudulently evade duty and GST.

Tang and Sunil were convicted in court in September 2017 and February this year respectively.

Investigations on the activities of the third motor vehicle trader are under way, said Singapore Customs.

While under investigation, Tan claimed he had misplaced his company’s trade documents, for which he did not make any attempt to recover.

Those found guilty of fraudulent evasion of GST may face a fine of up to 20 times the amount of tax evaded.

Failure to retain documents and records relating to importation and exportation of dutiable goods for a period not less than five years without reasonable excuse is an offence.

Those who do so can be fined up to $10,000 and jailed for up to three years.

Members of the public with information on evasion of Customs duty or GST can contact Singapore Customs on 1800-233-0000, or e-mail [email protected]

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