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Estate agent convicted of tax evasion


The proprietress of an estate agency business was convicted today (December 30) at the District Court of evading tax. Sentencing was adjourned to January 13 next year (Thursday) pending a background report and a medical report. The defendant was remanded in custody.

The defendant, aged 49, pleaded guilty to six charges of wilfully with intent 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 carried on 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. Investigation by the Inland Revenue Department, however, revealed that the actual business receipts for those six years should be $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, December 30, 2010