On 29th August, IRAS announced the conviction of the sole proprietor of Kay Lee Roast Meat Joint for tax evasion, by knowingly under-declaring Kay Lee’s total sales income for two years of assessments in his income tax return submission to IRAS. He was found to have provided estimated monthly sales, from which their accountant would deduct from the lump sum figure to derive Kay Lee’s annual sales income figure for the relevant year of assessments.
However, what this case did not highlight is that in some situations, the taxpayer may not have knowledge of the erroneous information shown on their tax returns.
In this regard, taxpayers should make sure they provide as much information as possible to their preparers – be they, accountants or tax agents, so as to make sure their tax returns are as accurate as possible. This is because their accountant or tax agent ultimately relies on the information provided to them. The most that the accountant or tax agent can do is to compare the accounts and tax returns with prior year figures, detect any discrepancies and advise accordingly. They can also warn taxpayers of the consequences of false declarations.
Therefore it is important to note that while most preparers provide excellent service to their clients, we urge taxpayers to be very careful when choosing an accountant or tax agent for their tax affairs. In other words, taxpayers should be as careful as they would be in choosing a doctor or a lawyer.