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Manager of freight forwarding company fined more than S$60,000 for evading GST

LaksaNews

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

Foong Zhong Wen, 42, the manager of freight forwarding company Swiftfox, pleaded guilty to 15 charges of fraudulent evasion of GST.

Another 29 similar charges were taken into consideration during sentencing, Singapore Customs said in a press release on Saturday.

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

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

Singapore Customs had commenced investigations into Swiftfox for suspected underdeclaration of value of goods after discrepancies were found in some cargo clearance permits.

Investigations revealed that one of Foong’s customers engaged his company to handle the customs clearance of their shipments from China.

The customer’s China freight forwarder would provide Foong with a consolidated manifest to apply for cargo clearance permits. As part of the services, Swiftfox would be declared as the importer for the shipments, said Singapore Customs.

"Foong would intentionally suppress the value of the goods by amending their values on the consolidated manifest, before furnishing it to the declaring agent to apply for cargo clearance permits," Singapore Customs said.

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

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

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

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

The 29 charges taken into consideration during sentencing involved 34 cargo clearance permits, with a total of S$7,450.31 in GST evaded.

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

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