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Tax evasion sentence suspended by Court upon appeal

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The High Court today (1 April 2004), upon an appeal by a former Senior Officer of the Securities and Futures Commission against a one-month jail sentence in respect of his tax evasion conviction, ordered that the imprisonment sentence be suspended for 12 months and the total fine of $75,000 be remained unchanged.

The investigation by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) revealed that the Appellant had set up a limited company to own a property (“the Property”) at Causeway Bay. The Appellant signed a tenancy agreement with the company to rent the Property and submitted the relevant tenancy agreement and rental receipts to Securities and Futures Commission so as to claim part of his salaries income as reimbursement of rent by employer. The Appellant grossly inflated the rent which was twofold and a half in excess of the market rate during the year of assessment 1999/2000. As a result, the Appellant understated his total assessable income and the salaries tax was undercharged by $60,560.

An IRD spokesman reminds the public that tax evasion is a criminal offence under the IRO. Upon conviction, the maximum sentence is three years' imprisonment and a fine of $50,000 on each charge, plus a further fine equivalent to three times of the amount of tax undercharged.

Ends/Thursday, April 1, 2004

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