5 foreigners arrested for posing as tourists to make GST refund claims

5 foreigners arrested for posing as tourists to make GST refund claims
Five Indian nationals arrested for tourist tax refund fraud.
PHOTO: IRAS and Singapore Customs

SINGAPORE - Five Indian nationals were arrested by investigators from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) on Feb 1(Wed) for conspiring to claim fraudulent tax refunds amounting to $167,253.

They are: Kothandaraman Gnanam, 29, Karunanidhi Rajesh, 32, Karunanithi Saravanan, 36, Ramaiyan Karthikeyan, 43 and Waithiyalingam Karunanidhi, 63.

The five were caught making fraudulent Goods and Services Tax (GST) refund claims at Changi Airport on May 27 last year, in a joint operation by IRAS and Singapore customs.

The claims were for jewellery that the men did not personally purchase, according to a joint statement by the agencies.

In a tax fraud scenario, the accused persons would pay local customers for their jewellery invoices. Then, with their foreign passports, the 'tourists' would obtain eTRS tickets from the respective shops and subsequently claim the GST refunds at the airport.

Photo: IRAS and Singapore Customs

Under the electronic tourist refund scheme, or eTRS, tourists can claim GST refund on goods purchased and taken out of Singapore.

IRAS says it takes a serious view on fraudulent GST refund claims and will not hesitate to take stern enforcement action against anyone assisting them.

Those found guilty of making a false claim or assisting another in making such a claim faces a penalty of up to three times the refund amount, and a fine of up to $10,000, and/or a jail term of up to 7 years.

candicec@sph.com.sg

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