S’pore Boss Sentenced to 25 Days’ Jail for Evading Tax After Iras Conducted Checks on Her


There’s a saying that goes: If you want to commit a crime, don’t commit it in Singapore.

Whether or not that saying is completely true for all crimes technically remains to be seen, but it’s definitely true when it comes to crimes that leave traces behind.

Like tax evasion.

Just yesterday (5 December), the sole owner of a funeral services company in Singapore pleaded guilty to one charge of income tax evasion.

The owner of Grace Casket, Grace Tay Chor Ing, was sentenced to 25 days in jail and was fined $74,530.25.

Two other charges of similar nature were considered during Tay’s sentencing.

In total, she had tried to evade income tax for more than $600,000 of her income when she filed her taxes to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore.

Here’s what happened.

Omitted Income

Based on documents that were used in court, Tay, 40, had omitted $244,206 of her salary for the charge that she was found guilty of.

This occurred when she filed her taxes for the Year of Assessment in 2018, and this omission resulted in her “saving” $24,846.75 in taxes.

Along with the two charges considered in court, Tay was found to have omitted a whopping $607,258 of her income between 2017 and 2019.

This caused $56,573.47 of her taxes to be undercharged.

IRAS Found Out After Conducting Audit on Parents’ Company

According to court proceedings, she was caught for her actions when IRAS decided to carry out an audit on her parents’ business.

The reasons behind why the audit was not revealed in court, but IRAS disclosed during a press statement that smaller businesses that deal with large amounts of cash, such as funeral service companies, “have [a] greater risk of tax non-compliance”. This also applies to firms that do not have efficient record-keeping or internal control procedures.

Her parents’ business, Teck Hin Undertaker, listed Tay as an employee. Tay was also issued a monthly income from that business.

Vidhya Maheantharan, IRAS’ prosecutor, then revealed that Tay had omitted her entire earnings from Grace Casket and only submitted her salary records from Teck Hin when filing her income tax return for the Year of Assessment in 2018.


Tay also admitted to being the only owner of Grace Casket when she was interviewed by the investigators during the audit but lied that there was “minimal” business.

In addition to that, she also said that she was inactive in the company.

Ms Vidhya then highlighted how IRAS found out afterwards Grace Casket was actually “thriving”, that she had omitted large sums from her income, and that this was not reflected in Tay’s statement.

Defence Lawyer’s Statement: Tay Confessed Voluntarily

In response to the charges brought against his client, defence lawyer Liu Hern Kuan from Insights Law pointed out how Tay had confessed to IRAS about her income omissions on her own accord and that such behaviour should be considered when deciding whether or not to lighten her sentence.

Mr Liu also sought a jail term of three to four weeks for Tay, citing Tay’s cooperative attitude during investigations and her full repayment of her evaded tax to IRAS as reasons why.


District Judge’s Comments: She Knew What She Was Doing

In contrast to Mr Liu’s opinions, District Judge Janet Wang brought up how Tay only disclosed that she had evaded tax when she was caught.

According to District Judge Wang, she only confessed when IRAS officers raided her parents’ house.

The judge also highlighted that Tay knew precisely what she was doing and that it was not a genuine mistake in any way or form.

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Not the First Funeral Director to Evade Taxes in Recent Months

And Tay’s not the only funeral director who has been exposed for tax evasion in recent months.

Roland Tay Hai Choon, a well-known funeral director who has overseen funeral arrangements for many who have been murdered, such as Huang Na, a girl who was killed in 2004, as well as the two victims in the 2017 Woodlands double murder, was also charged with tax evasion in September this year.

Tay, the founder of Direct Funeral Services, failed to report his income accurately from 2011 to 2013, evading over $427,000 of income tax in total.


In particular, the most significant evasion occurred when he registered his income as $121,051 when it was actually S$1,034,110 in April 2011.

Apart from that, he was also found to have not registered his business for Goods and Service Tax (GST) in Singapore back in July 2010.

He did not notify the Comptroller of Goods and Services Tax within a particular timeframe, which eventually resulted in him owing around $286,962.97, or around three years’ worth, of GST.

In total, he was handed three charges under the Income Tax Act and one charge under the GST Act.

Tay, 75, is currently on bail of $80,000 and will return to court on 27 January next year.


Individuals guilty of tax evasion in Singapore may face up to three years in jail, a fine of at most $10,000, or both.

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Featured Image: karanik yimpat / Shutterstock.com + Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS)