SINGAPORE: A woman who masterminded the evasion of about S$1 million in income and Goods and Services Taxes by two pubs over four years was given 41 weeks’ jail on Wednesday (Apr 8).

Ann Phua Si Si, 53, was also ordered to pay a total of S$1.2 million in penalties.

She did not own the two pubs that were in Orchard Towers – Moonshine Roadhouse and Peyton Place Cafe Lounge – but called the shots, and was the mastermind behind the scheme.

Phua had control over the bank accounts of both pubs and paid monthly salaries to three men who were listed on paper as the shareholders and directors.

She cooked up an arrangement to omit cash sales from the income tax and GST returns of both outlets by not issuing receipts, or by collecting cash through drink promoters.

Under her directions, cash sales were omitted by pub managers who did not key them into the cash register, instead writing them down on pieces of paper.

They tallied the consolidated daily sales reports by adding both sales from the cash register and those on the handwritten pieces of paper, however, they excluded the handwritten ones when preparing income tax and GST returns.

In total, the two pubs evaded S$1.09 million in income tax and GST between 2009 and 2013.

Court documents did not state how the crimes were uncovered, but Phua was nabbed after a principal tax investigator began investigations.

To date, Phua has repaid only S$36,769 of the outstanding taxes due to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), said the prosecutor.

She pleaded guilty to 10 proceeded charges under the Goods and Services Tax Act, with another 21 charges taken into consideration.

The penalty she was given is three times the amount of tax evaded in the proceeded charges.

The judge granted Phua her request to pay part of the penalty in instalments.

IRAS said in a statement after the hearing that it takes a serious view of such crimes and will not hesitate to take offenders to court.

Offenders can face penalties of up to four times the amount of tax evaded, on top of jail time.

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