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Woman fined $32k for failing to declare branded goods worth nearly $500k from overseas

Woman fined $32k for failing to declare branded goods worth nearly $500k from overseas

SINGAPORE - A 42-year-old Singaporean woman was fined about $32,000 on Thursday (Sept 20), after she pleaded guilty to failing to declare taxable goods brought into Singapore.

Tammy Tien Mi had brought a total of 30 luxury goods worth over $469,890 when she returned to Singapore from France on Jan 27 this year, the Singapore Customs said in a statement.

Officers from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) had stopped her for checks, and asked her if she had anything to declare, to which she said no.

Tien's four luggage bags were then put through an X-ray scanner, and images of several handbags were seen.

ICA officers then referred her to Singapore Customs for further investigation, during which officers found the 30 items, which included handbags, shoes, coats, dresses and scarves.

The total amount of goods and services tax (GST) payable for the goods, which were bought from various boutiques in France, amounted to $32,892.78.

GST for goods valued below $150 is not applicable for travellers who are out of Singapore for less than 48 hours. For those who are away for more than 48 hours, GST is exempt for goods valued up to $600.

The Singapore Customs said it is the responsibility of of all arriving travellers to make accurate and complete declaration of the dutiable and taxable items in their possession for duty and GST payment.

Under the Customs Act, any person found guilty of not doing so can be jailed up to a year, and fined up to $10,000, or equivalent of the amount of tax payable, whichever is higher.

In July, a 25-year-old woman was fined $5,500 for evading GST on branded goods worth over $11,710 that she had bought overseas and intended to sell in Singapore.

In April 2016, a retailer of branded handbags and wallets was fined $190,000 for fraudulent evasion of GST. The total amount of GST evaded by Yu Chung Tan, a partner at LovethatBag LLP, exceeded $54,460.

Yu had imported 2,338 branded handbags by parcel post on 41 occasions between October 2011 and October 2013. Goods imported by parcel post, except dutiable goods, are not subject to GST when their value is below $400.

Investigations also revealed that he had travelled overseas on 14 occasions from April 2012 to February 2014, purchasing 519 items that included branded bags, wallets, shirts, umbrellas and shoes. He meant to sell them in Singapore, and despite knowing that goods imported for sale are subject to GST, failed to declare them for GST payment upon arrival at Changi Airport.

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

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