Foodcourt firm shut for not paying taxes

Foodcourt firm shut for not paying taxes

The taxman has shut down a foodcourt operator for failing to pay more than $420,000 in taxes.

Family Food Court (HQ) is one of 13 companies the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) has wound up in the last five years because of outstanding taxes.

They owed sums ranging from a few hundred thousand dollars to more than $1 million. Iras did not name the firms.

The Sunday Times learnt that in September this year, Iras applied to the High Court to wind up Family Food Court (HQ), which operated a foodcourt in Woodlands and closed in 2010.

As a GST-registered business, the foodcourt operator did not pay $222,000 in goods and services tax and penalties for one quarter in 2010. It also failed to pay corporate tax and penalties of $201,000 for the 2011 tax assessment year.

An Iras spokesman said: "The winding up proceedings were taken as an action of last resort to recover the taxes owed. Attempts to contact the company to settle the outstanding taxes were unsuccessful."

In October, the High Court ordered the firm to be wound up. It is currently in the process of liquidation.

The Sunday Times was unable to contact Family Food Court (HQ), which is no longer at its registered office address in Sungei Kadut.

Its shareholder, Mr Lim Tor Seng, who was in his 80s, died about two years ago. His three sons - Chye Seng, Chye Kim and Chai Kwee - are listed as directors of the firm. None of them was at home when The Sunday Times visited their homes and they did not return phone calls.

In 2007, Family Food Court made the news when a tenant, Mr Seah Boon Lock who runs Yu Kee Duck Rice, sued the company.

He had been evicted from the Yew Tee outlet and accused of reneging on an agreement to rent another stall at the company's Sungei Kadut foodcourt. The foodcourt cut his stall power supply and retained his takings, among other efforts to kick him out. The judge ruled in favour of Mr Seah.

The company no longer runs the foodcourt at Yew Tee Square. Its Sungei Kadut foodcourt has since been renamed New Family Food Court, run by a company of the same name. Checks showed that the shareholders include Mr Lim Chye Seng.

The Family Food Court (HQ) is not related to the All Family Food Court, located in Pasir Ris, whose three partners were jailed for tax evasion about six years ago.

In 2012, it was reported that Iras wound up caterer Kriston Food & Beverage for failing to pay $1.08 million in GST and income taxes.

Iras said that more than 90 per cent of taxpayers file and pay their taxes on time. And 99 per cent of tax arrears are collected after Iras' enforcement actions kick in.

Its spokesman said: "Those who are in financial difficulties are strongly encouraged to contact Iras promptly to make alternative payment arrangements, instead of avoiding contact."

theresat@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Dec 14, 2014.
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