06 Jul 2017

Robofusion Asia Pte Ltd (“Robofusion”), a company that supplies robotic ice-cream kiosks, has been convicted of evading the Goods and Services Tax (GST) by overstating GST input tax on its GST return. Robert Taramelli (“Taramelli”), the company director, was also convicted for his role in assisting the company to evade GST.

Court Sentences
For his offence of wilful intent to assist Robofusion to evade tax, Taramelli was sentenced to 6 weeks’ in jail and ordered to pay a penalty of $107,003.55, which is three times of the GST input tax of $35,667.85.

Robofusion was sentenced to pay a penalty of $107,003.55, which is three times the amount of GST undercharged, and a fine of $8,000.

IRAS’ Audits Detected Anomalies in GST Returns
The GST charged and collected from customers is known as output tax, which has to be accounted for and paid to IRAS. GST incurred on taxable business purchases and expenses is known as input tax. The difference between the output tax and input tax is the net GST payable to or refundable from IRAS. GST returns are usually required to be filed for a prescribed accounting period, which may be on a monthly or a quarterly cycle.

IRAS detected anomalies in the declarations made by Taramelli in Robofusion’s GST returns during its regular audits of GST-registered businesses.

IRAS’ investigations revealed that Taramelli assisted Robofusion to evade tax by maintaining a false record, namely, by including a false invoice dated 10 Sep 2013 that he had created, purportedly from a supplier, showing GST amounting to $35,667.85, into Robofusion’s taxable purchases listing. He included the GST amount of $35,667.85 in the amount of input tax claimed in Robofusion’s GST return for the accounting period 1 Sep 2013 to 30 Sep 2013. The false invoice was for the supposed purchase of 10 units of a machine by Robofusion from the supplier for the total amount of $509,540.72.

Investigations revealed that the actual tax invoice, which had the same invoice number, had already been claimed in Robofusion’s GST return for an earlier accounting period ended Jun 2013.

Severe Penalties for Fraudulent GST Claims
It is a serious offence to claim GST input tax on fictitious purchases or understate output tax on sales. Offenders face a penalty of three times the amount of tax undercharged, a fine not exceeding $10,000, and/or imprisonment of up to seven 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 action to be taken. Those who wish to disclose past mistakes, reveal evaded taxes, or report malpractices that might indicate tax evasion, can write to:
Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore
Investigation & Forensics Division
55 Newton Road, Revenue House
Singapore 307987
Email: [email protected]

Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore