488 cases investigated for PIC fraud: Heng Swee Keat

488 cases investigated for PIC fraud: Heng Swee Keat

Eight of those cases, involving a total of S$213,000, were prosecuted, while three cases are pending trial says the Finance Minister.

Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (File photo: TODAY)

SINGAPORE: The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) has investigated 488 cases for fraud under the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme as of Dec 31, 2015, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in a written Parliamentary reply on Tuesday (Apr 5).

He said eight of those cases resulted in prosecution. They involved a total of S$213,000 in cash payouts. Another three cases are pending trial. The 11 court cases do not involve consultants, Mr Heng added.

In Parliament last month, Senior Minister of State for Finance Indranee Rajah stated that IRAS had clawed back about S$11 million under the PIC scheme so far. She said 1,470 claims out of about 71,000 cash payment claims made from Years of Assessment (YA) 2011 to 2015 that have been investigated or audited by IRAS required clawback.

The PIC scheme was launched in 2010 to encourage businesses, especially small and medium enterprises to invest in productivity and innovation. About 142,000 claims for cash payouts under the scheme were made in 2015, more than double the 60,000 in 2014. However, in February this year IRAS said it has found more people making false claims upon the advice of so-called consultants.

In his latest Budget speech, Mr Heng also announced that he would continue tapering broad-based measures, such as the PIC scheme, in favour of more targeted assistance via the Industry Transformation Programme.

He said the cash payout rate under PIC would be lowered from 60 per cent to 40 per cent for expenditures incurred on or after Aug 1, 2016. The scheme, which has been extended from Year of Assessment (YA) 2016 to YA 2018, will expire thereafter.

Source: CNA/dl