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Singapore MAS Issues 5-Year Ban on 6 Great Eastern Insurance Agents for Tax Evasion by Reducing S$92,638 of Income Tax Through Falsifying S$604,318 of Business Expenses Including Introducers Commissions, Sentenced to Jail & Fined Total of S$252,889

1st June 2023 | Hong Kong

Singapore central bank Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued a 5-year ban (1st June 2023, Prohibition Order) on 6 former Great Eastern insurance agents for tax evasion by reducing S$92,638 of income tax through falsifying S$604,318 of business expenses including introducers commissions, with the ban issued following Singapore state court conviction of the 6 individuals (jail & fined total of S$252,889).   The 6 Great Eastern insurance agents (Chan Jun Yi, Chanel Quah Hui Wen, Lim Zhan Yi, Sherlin Chia Hee Ping, Tang Hong Kong Jackie, and Yvonne Quah) had engaged a 3rd party to inflate their business expenses in 2018 to 2019.  Singapore MAS: “Between April 2018 and April 2019, the six former agents, who were part of the same team in GEFA, engaged a third party to assist them in falsely inflating their business expenses for their income tax returns. The false expenses were allocated into two categories, namely “general expenses” and “commission paid to introducers”. The false entries reduced their income taxes by S$124,648 for the 2018 and 2019 years of assessment. On 16 September 2022, the six former agents were sentenced to imprisonment ranging from four days to eight weeks, and penalties ranging from S$7,965.00 to S$113,829.02.”  See below Singapore MAS & IRAS full statement. 

“ Singapore MAS Issues 5-Year Ban on 6 Great Eastern Insurance Agents for Tax Evasion by Reducing S$92,638 of Income Tax Through Falsifying S$604,318 of Business Expenses Including Introducers Commissions, Sentenced to Jail & Fined Total of S$252,889 “

 



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Section 96(1)(b) of the Income Tax Act (Cap. 134, 2014 Rev. Ed.) – Under this section, whoever wilfully with intent to evade tax, makes any false statement or entry in any return made under the Income Tax Act, shall be guilty of an offence for which, on conviction, the person shall pay a penalty of treble the amount of tax that has been undercharged, and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to both.

Reminder – IRAS (Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore) would like to remind all self-employed persons to keep proper records and accounts of their business income and expenses for 5 years from the relevant YA. Business expense claims should not include expenses that were not incurred or were not legally deductible (e.g. private expenses such as travel or entertainment not related to the running of the business).

 

 

Singapore MAS Issues 5-Year Ban on 6 Great Eastern Insurance Agents for Tax Evasion by Reducing S$92,638 of Income Tax Through Falsifying S$604,318 of Business Expenses Including Introducers Commissions

Great Eastern Life

MAS issues Prohibition Orders against six individuals for fraudulent and dishonest conduct

1st June 2023 – The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued five-year prohibition orders (POs) against Mr Chan Jun Yi, Ms Chanel Quah Hui Wen, Mr Lim Zhan Yi, Ms Sherlin Chia Hee Ping, Mr Tang Hong Kong Jackie, and Ms Yvonne Quah. This follows their convictions for tax evasion offences under section 96(1)(b) of the Income Tax Act.

Under the POs, which will take effect from 1 June 2023, the six former agents of Great Eastern Financial Advisers Private Limited (GEFA) are prohibited from:

  • providing any financial advisory service, and from taking part in the management, acting as a director, or becoming a substantial shareholder, of any financial advisory firm under the Financial Advisers Act 2001; and
  • carrying on business as, and from taking part in the management of, any insurance intermediary under the Insurance Act 1966.

Between April 2018 and April 2019, the six former agents, who were part of the same team in GEFA, engaged a third party to assist them in falsely inflating their business expenses for their income tax returns. The false expenses were allocated into two categories, namely “general expenses” and “commission paid to introducers”. The false entries reduced their income taxes by S$124,648 for the 2018 and 2019 years of assessment. On 16 September 2022, the six former agents were sentenced to imprisonment ranging from four days to eight weeks, and penalties ranging from S$7,965.00 to S$113,829.02.

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) had referred this case to MAS for regulatory action. MAS has issued five-year POs to all six individuals as each of them had actively participated in the scheme to cheat IRAS. Their convictions for falsifying expense claims in income tax returns gave MAS reason to believe that they will not perform financial advisory services honestly.

 

 

Singapore IRAS – Six Insurance Agents Convicted of Falsifying Expense Claims in Income Tax Returns

Singapore | Leading financial centre in Asia

16th September 2022 (Singapore IRAS, Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore) – Six individuals who worked in the insurance industry have been convicted in Court for falsifying expense claims in their Individual Income Tax Returns for Years of Assessment (YA) 2018 or 2019. The false expenses submitted resulted in a total of $92,638 in taxes undercharged.  (All currencies in SGD)

The six individuals are Tang Hong Kong Jackie, Yvonne Quah, Chan Jun Yi, Chanel Quah Hui Wen, Lim Zhan Yi, and Sherlin Chia Hee Ping.

Investigations revealed that the six insurance agents had claimed false business expenses amounting to $604,318 in their Income Tax Returns under the guise of “general expenses” and “commissions paid to introducers”. The false expense claims reduced their income taxes by $92,638. Investigations also revealed that the expenses were in fact a sham – the six insurance agents neither paid any “introducer fees” to these purported introducers nor received any services from them. They generated documentary records to support their expense claims by recruiting various individuals to sign acknowledgment forms for receipt of non-existent “introducer fees” and to provide copies of their NRICs in exchange for token sums.

These six insurance agents will also be referred to the Monetary Authority of Singapore for regulatory action.

Court Sentences

(1)  Tang Hong Kong, Jackie (aged 42)

He faced one charge of making false entries in his Income Tax return with wilful intent to evade tax by overstating expenses incurred in the YA 2019 by $47,700. The false entries resulted in $2,655 in taxes undercharged. He also faced one charge of failing to maintain proper records of his business expenses, for a period of not less than 5 years from the respective YAs. For these charges, the Court sentenced him to 4 days’ imprisonment and ordered him to pay $8,465 in fines and penalties.

(2)  Yvonne Quah (aged 34)

She faced one charge of making false entries in her Income Tax return with wilful intent to evade tax by overstating expenses incurred in the YA 2019 by $193,178. The false entries resulted in $37,946 in taxes undercharged. For these charges, the Court sentenced her to 8 weeks’ imprisonment and ordered her to pay $113,839 in penalties.

(3)  Chan Jun Yi (aged 33)

He faced one charge of making false entries in his Income Tax return with wilful intent to evade tax by overstating expenses incurred in YA 2018 by $86,300. The false entries resulted in $9,010 in taxes undercharged. He also faced one charge of failing to maintain proper records of his business expenses, for a period of not less than 5 years from the respective YAs. For these charges, the Court sentenced him to 2 weeks’ imprisonment and ordered him to pay $27,531 in fines and penalties.

(4)  Chanel Quah (aged 31)

She faced one charge of making false entries in her Income Tax return with wilful intent to evade tax by overstating expenses incurred in YA 2019 by $42,500. The false entries resulted in $4,644 in taxes undercharged. She also faced one charge of failing to maintain proper records of her business expenses, for a period of not less than 5 years from the respective YAs. For these charges, the Court sentenced her to 1 week’s imprisonment and ordered her to pay $14,433 in fines and penalties.

(5)  Lim Zhan Yi (aged 32)

He faced one charge of making false entries in his Income Tax return with wilful intent to evade tax by overstating expenses incurred in YA 2019 by $150,900. The false entries resulted in $27,703 in taxes undercharged. He also faced one charge of failing to maintain proper records of his business expenses, for a period of not less than 5 years from the YA. For these charges, the Court sentenced him to 5 weeks’ imprisonment and ordered him to pay $83,610 in fines and penalties.

(6)  Sherlin Chia Hee Ping (aged 41)

She faced one charge of making false entries in her Income Tax return with wilful intent to evade tax by overstating expenses incurred in YA 2019 by $83,740. The false entries resulted in $10,680 in taxes undercharged. She also faced one charge of failing to maintain proper records of her business expenses, for a period of not less than 5 years from the YA. For these charges, the Court sentenced her to 10 days’ imprisonment and ordered her to pay $32,542 in fines and penalties.

 

IRAS’ Compliance Focus

IRAS conducts regular audits on taxpayers using a risk-based approach. Compliance efforts targeted at individual taxpayers have been placed on those who are self-employed (i.e., persons carrying on a trade, business, profession, or vocation), as they tend to commit more mistakes and file incorrect income tax returns. Our compliance focus includes commission agents such as insurance or property agents, online sellers and gig workers.

IRAS would like to remind all self-employed persons to keep proper records and accounts of their business income and expenses for 5 years from the relevant YA. Business expense claims should not include expenses that were not incurred or were not legally deductible (e.g. private expenses such as travel or entertainment not related to the running of the business).

 

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 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years.

Reporting of Malpractices

Businesses or individuals are encouraged to immediately disclose any past tax mistakes. IRAS will treat such disclosures as mitigating factors when considering actions to be taken. Please refer to the IRAS website for more information on how to disclose past mistakes. Those who wish to report malpractices may make their submissions via this form.

Cash Rewards for Informants

A reward based on 15% of the tax recovered, capped at $100,000, would be given to informants if the information and/or documents provided lead to a recovery of tax that would have otherwise been lost. All payments are at the discretion of the Comptroller. IRAS will ensure that the identities of informants are kept strictly confidential.




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