Singapore woman fined over S$30,000 for failing to pay GST on 141 branded items bought overseas

Ever bought expensive items from overseas without declaring them with customs at the airport? You could be breaking the law.

One woman, who provided personal luxury shopping services for clients during her travels to Europe, has been find S$30,600 for failing to pay taxes amounting to about S$14,460.

Singaporean Nur Sarah Aqilah Binte Sumathi was convicted on Thursday (Oct 10) of two charges of fraudulent evasion of Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The Singapore customs said in a statement that the 35-year-old did not declare and pay GST on 141 pieces of branded luxury items – worth a total of $205,980 – that were bought overseas and brought into Singapore between 2015 and 2017.

Five other charges were taken into consideration in sentencing, it said.

According to the authority, investigations into Nur Sarah’s Instagram-based branded goods business revealed that she had travelled to Europe to purchase branded handbags, wallets and shoes.

She then brought these items back with the intention of selling them, but did not declare the goods or pay GST.

In 2017, Nur Sarah even expanded her business to provide personal shopping and concierge services for her clients.

“It is the responsibility of all arriving travellers to make accurate and complete declaration of the dutiable and taxable items in their possession of duty and GST payment,” Singapore Customs said in its statement.

Offenders convicted of fraudulent evasion of GST will can be fined up to 20 times the amount of tax evaded and/or be jailed for up to two years.

Members of public can report smuggling activities or customs duty and GST evasion via its hotline 1800-2330000, through email customs_intelligence@customs.gov.sg, or on the Customs@SG mobile app.

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