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Property owner jailed for two months over tax evasion

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A property owner convicted in the Eastern Magistrates' Courts of evading property tax was today (January 7) jailed for two months and fined $23,000.

The defendant let out her jointly owned residential property during the five years of assessment 1998-99 to 2002-03. She handled all the rental affairs and received rental income of $1,588,865 for the relevant years of assessment but falsely stated in the tax returns for the relevant years that the property was not let. The total tax undercharged was $208,916.

The defendant pleaded guilty to nine counts of making false statements or entries in the relevant property tax returns for the five years of assessment 1998-99 to 2002-03, and in her tax returns-individuals for the four years of assessment 1999-2000 to 2002-03, contrary to section 82(1)(b) of the Inland Revenue Ordinance; and one count of signing her tax return-individuals for the year of assessment 1998-99 without reasonable grounds for believing the same to be true, contrary to section 82(1)(d) of the ordinance.

A spokesman for the Inland Revenue Department reminded taxpayers that tax evasion was a criminal offence under the Inland Revenue Ordinance. Upon conviction, the maximum penalty for each charge is three years' imprisonment and a fine of $50,000, plus a further fine of three times the amount of tax evaded.

Ends/Monday, January 7, 2008

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