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dentist

Court dismisses dentist’s appeal over tax on earnings, Singapore News & Top Stories

The High Court has dismissed a dentist’s appeal that he should be charged the corporate tax rate for earnings paid to a company he created, finding his main goal in setting it up was to avoid tax.

Justice Choo Han Teck ruled in the first such case to go on appeal to the High Court that Dr Wee Teng Yau’s move would enable him to pay less tax on the same services he provided.

This is because his fees paid into the company would be its income and taxed at the lower corporate tax rate. But if the fees had been paid directly to him, the personal income tax rate – which is higher – would be levied.

Justice Choo’s ruling pivots on a provision in the Income Tax Act, according to judgment grounds released earlier this month.

The provision at issue is Section 33 of the Act.

The tax authorities said last week that Section 33 has been applied to more than 100 medical professionals.

Referring to the section, Justice Choo said it is meant to cover arrangements created by the taxpayer to reduce the taxes which he would otherwise have to pay.

The judge found in this case “the facts show (its) main, if not only, purpose was to enable Dr Wee to avoid tax. This is precisely the type of arrangement that is covered by Section 33(1)”.

The case is the first to be heard before the court as previous such appeals were not pursued beyond the Income Tax Board of Review.

Dr Wee was employed by dental clinic Alfred Cheng Orthodontic Clinic (ACOC) from January 2011 to May 2012.

He set up Straighten (SPL) in May 2012, and was its sole director and shareholder. He continued to provide the same dental services to ACOC’s patients, but ACOC made the payments to SPL instead of to him, the court noted.

SPL, in turn, paid him a salary and director’s fee. Tax-exempt dividends were also declared and paid to him from SPL’s profits.

For assessment year 2012, ACOC paid Dr Wee $279,194.60 in fees.

Between assessment years 2013 and 2016, the fees ACOC paid SPL and reported as SPL’s income totalled $1,470,764.

SPL paid $336,000 in director’s remuneration to Dr Wee who also received tax-exempt dividends totalling $765,205 as a shareholder.

Each year, the remuneration he received from SPL ranged between $40,000 and $110,000. This is significantly lower than the $279,194.60 he got as income in 2011 from ACOC, the court noted.

The Comptroller of Income Tax treated the fees SPL received from ACOC as Dr Wee’s income and imposed the personal income tax rate instead of the corporate tax rate as sought by Dr Wee.

The Income Tax Board of Review affirmed the Comptroller’s position and Dr Wee appealed further.

In the High Court, the Comptroller’s counsel Zheng Sicong and Serene Lau relied on Section 33(1) as the ground for the levy.

But Dr Wee’s lawyer Lau Kah Hee argued, among other things, that Dr Wee would

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health

Don Jr. dismisses coronavirus deaths: ‘The number is almost nothing’

But the deaths are not “almost nothing” — and they are rising. Roughly 1,000 Americans died from the disease on Thursday, as Trump Jr. appeared on Fox News host Laura Ingraham’s show to downplay the U.S. death toll. And among those who survive the coronavirus, many have long-term damage to vital organs and lingering chronic symptoms.

“The reality is this: If you look, I put it up on my Instagram a couple days ago, because I went through the CDC data, because I kept hearing about new infections,” Trump Jr. said. “But I was like, ‘Well, why aren’t they talking about deaths?’ Oh, oh, because the number is almost nothing. Because we’ve gotten control of this, and we understand how it works.”

Those remarks resemble other misleading or outright untrue rhetoric put forth in recent days by President Donald Trump, who has been increasingly dismissive of the pandemic’s threat ahead of Election Day. “More Testing equals more Cases. We have best testing. Deaths WAY DOWN,” he tweeted on Friday morning.

Trump has repeatedly said the U.S. is “rounding the turn” in its fight against Covid-19 — an assertion contradicted by his own White House task coronavirus task force.

According to notes of a private task force call with governors on Friday, task force coordinator Deborah Birx acknowledged the severity of the spread, particularly in the northern U.S. She said 1,200 counties — one-third of the country — qualify as “hot spots.” In only one state are cases falling, and in only seven are hospitalizations decreasing.

She told the governors that reaching a plateau — stabilizing the virus, not even bringing it down — will take “every single person in your states moving forward with” wearing masks, maintaining social distance, avoiding gatherings, and handwashing.

The administration’s coronavirus testing czar also expressed concern this week about the trajectory of the pandemic, pointing to the growing number of deaths to correct the president. “The cases are actually going up. And we know that, too, because hospitalizations are going up,” Adm. Brett Giroir told NBC’s “Today” show on Wednesday, adding: “We do know that deaths are increasing, unfortunately.”

Public health experts predict an even greater death toll throughout the fall and winter months, as the U.S. coronavirus outbreak collides with the annual flu season. “If things do not change, if they continue on the course we’re on, there’s going to be a whole lot of pain in this country with regard to additional cases and hospitalizations and deaths,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told CNBC on Wednesday.

Adam Cancryn contributed to this report.

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health

Kremlin dismisses vaccine disinformation campaign accusations as ‘circus’



Vladimir Putin sitting at a desk: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the vaccine on a video conference call with government officials.


© Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the vaccine on a video conference call with government officials.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov dismissed the reaction of the UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to the Times report saying that Russia is engaging in a disinformation campaign to discredit the Oxford University coronavirus vaccine in an effort to promote its own vaccine Sputnik V, developed by the Gamaleya Institute.

“Commenting on the accusations against Russia is getting more and more circus-like,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters Friday. “Russia is not misinforming anyone, Russia proudly talks about its successes and Russia shares its successes regarding the first ever registered [coronavirus] vaccine in the world.”

The Times published a report on Friday outlining a supposed Russian disinformation campaign “designed to undermine and spread fear about the Oxford University coronavirus vaccine.” The campaign involves spreading memes and videos suggesting the vaccine, manufactured by a pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is “a monkey vaccine” that could turn people into monkeys because it uses a chimpanzee virus as a vector, according to the newspaper.

“We know that Russia has got a track record in this area. Previously we’ve commented and called them out on it,” Raab said in an interview with Sky News.

“But anyone trying to basically sabotage the efforts of those trying to develop a vaccine I think are deeply reprehensible. It’s unacceptable and unjustified in any circumstances.”

The Times said a “whistleblower” “involved in the campaign” passed on the images to the paper out of concern about potential damage to the public health efforts. The newspaper notes it is not clear whether the campaign was directly authorized by the Kremlin but added “there is evidence that some Russian officials were involved in its organisation and dissemination.”

“Misinformation is a clear risk to public health. This is especially true during the current pandemic which continues to claim tens of thousands of lives, significantly disrupt the way we live and damage the economy,” Pascal Soriot, CEO at AstraZeneca, said in a statement.

“I urge everyone to use reliable sources of information, to trust regulatory agencies and to remember the enormous benefit vaccines and medicines continue to bring to humanity.”

Disinformation is “reckless and contemptible behaviour that could lead to real damage to people’s health”, said a source in Whitehall, the area in central London where key UK ministries are based. “This sort of lie fundamentally harms all of us around the world and we need to be alert to identify and counter this kind of activity to support the provision of factual information for all people about Covid-19 and vaccines.”

When asked to comment on the article, the Kremlin spokesperson in turn accused the UK of spreading disinformation about the Russian vaccine suggesting it’s a testament to the unfair competition in the vaccine race.

“Russia already has documents of intention to sell or jointly produce this vaccine in a number of countries, and of course in these countries Russia is not

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