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Bt650m owed for illegal ‘super cars’

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DSI and customs to take legal action against importers for unpaid taxes

BUSINESS operators who allegedly failed to pay taxes on 30 Lamborghini sports cars, involving fraudulent import declarations valued at Bt650 million, will face legal action, Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and Customs officials said yesterday. 
Another batch of 300 super cars – including 166 cars seized during DSI raids on May 18 and 24 – are still undergoing tax assessment.
Pol Col Paisit Wongmuang, the DSI head, said Customs officials found taxes worth Bt650 million were not paid on 30 Lamborghinis.
DSI deputy chief Pol Lt-Colonel Korrawat Panprapakorn said at least Bt10 million in unpaid tax was owed on each of the 30 cars, with some a lot more than others, depending on models and “tricks” used to avoid paying the full tax sum due. Customs officials would take action to collect the unpaid taxes while the DSI would summon suspects for questioning, he said. 
As well as the usual trick of submitting invoices with false information, Korrawat said they found that some cars' information was changed to details of a cheaper model and subjected to much lower taxes. Eight |of the 11 Lamborghini Aventador sports cars imported from Britain were found to actually be the older and cheaper Gallardo model. 
The model name was changed back to Aventador when registered with the Land Transport Department, he said. 
Two Lamborghinis, declared as parts at Bt300,000 for the frame and Bt38,000 for the engine, were to be re-assembled in Thailand and were taxed at only Bt900,000. They were actually imported as whole cars and should have been taxed at Bt18 million and Bt20 million respectively, Korrawat said. 
Car parts for re-assembling are taxed at 80 per cent of the declared price, while whole cars are taxed at up to 328 per cent. These two cars were among those burnt during transport in Nakhon Ratchasima's Pak Chong district in 2013, he said.
Korrawat said a total of 300 super cars had already been submitted for tax assessment. 
He said the DSI was targeting business operators involved in tax evasion rather than the buyers who would initially be regarded as damaged persons. 
He said that the DSI had so far found 15 of the 42 cars reported stolen in Britain by the UK-based National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS). 
Customs Department chief Kulit Sombatsiri said his agency would proceed with tax assessment of the vehicles within one week. 
He said that the Customs officials whom the DSI had found to be involved in the fraudulent import declarations had already been fired. 
Port committees have been told to be strict when releasing cars through the customs procedure, he said, and they were advised to seek help when they find dubious details. 
Kulit said he had ordered the amendment of a 13-year-old regulation that allowed an operators’ invoice to be accepted for taxation purposes. 
He also expressed a personal view that the 328 per cent tax should be adjusted or business operators would still find ways to evade tax. 

Published : June 16, 2017

By : Piyanuch Thamnukasetchai The Nation