Singaporean man found guilty of evading GST, to serve 43 months in jail for failing to pay SGD 3.6 million fine

A Singaporean man will serve a 43-month jail term after he defaulted on SGD 3.6 million fine, which was slapped on him for evading duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) on 983 imported motor vehicles.

As per a joint statement by Singapore Customs and Land Transport Authority, Tan Lye Khim, the accused, imported the cars between November 2018 and October 2020.

The 47-year-old man has been identified as the sole proprietor of Smartcar Auto. He was fined by the State Courts on 2 January 2024.

The release stated that Tan pleaded guilty to two charges under the Customs Act for fraudulent evasion of duty amounting to about SGD 769,207 for the imports of 974 motor vehicles.

“Another two charges of fraudulent evasion of GST amounting to about $323,067 involving the same motor vehicles, and two charges of fraudulent evasion of duty and GST for the imports of nine vehicles, with a total evaded amount of about $6,092, were taken into consideration during sentencing,” the joint statement read.

The accused also pleaded guilty to one charge of giving incorrect information under section 11(9) of the Road Traffic Act in relation to the value of 746 motor vehicles.

“Two more charges for giving incorrect information under section 11(9) of the Road Traffic Act in relation to the values of 228 motor vehicles and nine motor vehicles respectively were taken into consideration during sentencing. The incorrect information resulted in a shortfall of $5,190,893 of ARF,” the release stated.

Several others under investigation

An investigation revealed that in 2016, Tan came in contact with two Singaporean men, aged 43 and 48. The duo asked him to set up Smartcar to import vehicles. Fort this Tan received SGD 5,000 a month, in addition to an annual lump sum payment ranging from SGD 100,000 to SGD 225,000 for his role.

“Smartcar is a front company for the two men, with one of them managing Smartcar’s daily operations. Tan was aware that Smartcar was set up to import motor vehicles with suppressed values to evade duty and GST,” it stated.

“A 31-year-old female Singapore Permanent Resident was employed to assist in placing orders and liaising with overseas suppliers, making payments to suppliers, preparing and submitting motor vehicle values imported through Smartcar to Singapore Customs for assessment,” the statement added.

Legal proceedings against the 43-year-old and 31-year-old are ongoing. Investigations are also ongoing for the 48-year-old man.