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Estate agent jailed for seven months over tax evasion


The proprietress of an estate agency business, convicted on December 30 last year at the District Court of evading tax, was sentenced today (January 13) to seven months' imprisonment and fined $551,590 after being remanded in custody for 14 days. The fine imposed is equivalent to 100% of the tax evaded.

The defendant, aged 49, pleaded guilty to six charges of wilfully intending to evade tax by making false statements or entries in her tax returns for the years of assessment 1999-2000 to 2004-05, contrary to section 82(1)(b) of the Inland Revenue Ordinance. The court ordered the other two charges of making false statements in connection with claims for deduction of business expenses to be left on court file.

The court heard that the defendant ran an estate agency business. The receipts for the said business reported in her tax returns for the six years from 1999-2000 to 2004-05 totalled $4,276,593. However, investigation by the Inland Revenue Department revealed that the actual business receipts for those six years should have been $9,460,072, reflecting an understatement of $5,183,479. The total tax evaded was $551,590.

A spokesman for the department reminded taxpayers to file correct tax returns. Tax evasion is a criminal offence. Understating any taxable income in a tax return or making any false statement in connection with a claim for any deduction are offences under the Inland Revenue Ordinance. The maximum penalty for each convicted offence is three years' jail and a $50,000 fine, plus a further fine equivalent to three times the amount of tax evaded.

Ends/Thursday, January 13, 2011
Issued at HKT 18:11