Car importer fined $3.6m for evading Customs duty, GST on 983 motor vehicles , Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Car importer fined $3.6m for evading Customs duty, GST on 983 motor vehicles

A 47-year-old man was fined $3.6 million on Jan 2 for evading Customs duty and the goods and services tax on 983 motor vehicles he imported into the Republic between November 2018 and October 2020.

Tan Lye Khim, sole proprietor of Smartcar Auto, failed to pay the fine and will instead serve 43 months in jail.

The Singaporean was also sentenced to an additional seven weeks’ imprisonment for underpaying the additional registration fees on the vehicles by $5,190,893, said Singapore Customs and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in a joint statement on Jan 2.

The authorities said Tan had pleaded guilty to an offence under the Customs Act and another offence under the Road Traffic Act for giving incorrect information related to vehicle tax.

Four Customs-related charges and two charges related to the Road Traffic Act were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Singapore Customs began investigating Smartcar Auto after it suspected that the values of motor vehicles submitted for the assessment of duty and GST payable were intentionally understated.

Its investigations revealed that the firm acted as a front, with Tan allegedly engaged by a 43-year-old Singaporean man and a 48-year-old Singapore permanent resident in 2016 to set it up.

Drawing a monthly salary of $5,000, as well as an annual lump sum payment ranging between $100,000 and $225,000, Tan was aware that Smartcar Auto was set up to import motor vehicles with suppressed values, said the joint statement.

A 31-year-old woman was employed to assist him in placing orders and liaising with overseas suppliers.

The employee, a Singapore permanent resident, also made payments to suppliers, as well as prepared and submitted the values of the motor vehicles Smartcar Auto imported to Singapore Customs for assessment.

Court proceedings against Tan’s employee and the Singaporean man who first approached him to set up the firm are ongoing.

Meanwhile, the 48-year-old man is still under investigation.