Freight company manager fined over S$60,000 for evading GST

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SINGAPORE: A Singaporean was fined S$63,834.90 by state courts on Thursday May 12 for fraudulent evasion of Goods and Services Tax (GST) payable on the importation of miscellaneous goods between April and August 2019.

Foong Zhong Wen, 42, a director of freight forwarding company Swiftfox, pleaded guilty to 15 counts of fraudulent GST evasion.

Another 29 similar charges were considered at sentencing, Singapore Customs said in a press release on Saturday.

“Foong’s fraudulent actions resulted in underpayment of GST to Singapore Customs,” the agency said.

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The amount of GST evaded by Foong was S$15,128.26.

Singapore Customs had opened investigations into Swiftfox for alleged under-declaration of the value of goods after discrepancies were discovered in certain customs clearance permits.

Investigations revealed that one of Foong’s clients had hired his company to handle customs clearance for their shipments from China.

The customer’s Chinese freight forwarder would provide Foong with a consolidated manifest to request cargo clearance clearances. Under the services, Swiftfox would be declared the importer of the shipments, Singapore Customs said.

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“Foong would intentionally remove the value of the goods by altering their values ​​on the consolidated manifest, before providing it to the declaring agent to apply for clearance permits,” Singapore Customs said.

The declaring agent would pay Singapore Customs the GST based on the suppressed values ​​shown in the consolidated manifest it received from Swiftfox, and then invoice Swiftfox accordingly, Singapore Customs added.

Foong would then collect the GST payable based on his client’s original documents and profit from the differences.

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Foong did so with 52 cargo clearance permits between April and August 2019.

The 15 charges to which he pleaded guilty involved 18 cargo clearance permits, for a total of S$7,677.95 in evaded GST.

The 29 charges considered in sentencing related to 34 cargo clearance permits, with a total of S$7,450.31 GST evaded.

Anyone involved in the fraudulent evasion of a duty, or attempting to fraudulently evade a duty, is liable to a fine of up to 20 times the amount of duty and GST evaded.

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