Singer fined $30.6k for evading GST on branded goods bought overseas to sell on Instagram

Singer Nur Sarah Aqilah Sumathi had brought back to Singapore branded goods she bought in Europe to sell them on Instagram between 2015 and 2017.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - A local singer was fined $30,600 on Thursday (Oct 10) for not paying goods and services tax (GST) on branded goods that she bought overseas to sell here on Instagram.

The goods were worth over $205,980.

Singapore Customs said Nur Sarah Aqilah Sumathi, 35, had brought back to Singapore branded goods - such as handbags, wallets and shoes - she bought in Europe to sell them on Instagram between 2015 and 2017.

In 2017, Nur Sarah also started to provide personal shopping and concierge services for her clients during her travels overseas.

The Singaporean did not declare and pay GST on the 141 branded goods when she returned to Singapore, which Singapore Customs said amounted to $14,460 of GST evaded.

Nur Sarah was convicted of two charges of fraudulent evasion of GST and another five charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

She was the winner of a 2009 singing competition called Anugerah, Malay television channel Suria’s version of Singapore Idol.

Singapore Customs reminded travellers that it is their responsibility to make accurate and complete declarations of the dutiable and taxable items in their possession upon arrival.

Two of the branded goods for sale posted on the woman's Instagram account. PHOTO: SINGAPORE CUSTOMS

Any person found guilty of fraudulent evasion of GST can be fined up to 20 times the amount of tax evaded, jailed for up to two years, or both.

Those with information on smuggling activities or evasion of customs duty or GST can call the Singapore Customs hotline on 1800-233-0000, e-mail or use the Customs @ SG mobile app.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.