Compulsory probes found tax evasion in fiscal 2016 totaled ¥16.1 billion, including penalties, up ¥2.3 billion from the previous year, the National Tax Agency said Thursday.
In the year ended in March, the number of tax evasion cases handled by regional taxation bureaus across the country increased by 12 from the previous fiscal year to 193.
Of the total, 132 cases were sent to public prosecutors, accounting for ¥12.7 billion of tax unpaid through evasion. That’s 17 cases and ¥1.5 billion more than the previous year.
The average value of tax evaded per case came to ¥96 million, the lowest level since the country’s asset inflation-driven economic bubble ended in the early 1990s.
The construction sector topped the list of tax evaders by industry for the second straight year, recording 30 cases that were transferred to prosecutors.
The real estate industry came second at 10 cases, followed by metal product manufacturers and stock and commodity brokers, at five cases each.
The number of tax evasion cases involving consumption tax hit the second-highest level on record, at 23.
Among them was a case handled by the Osaka Regional Taxation Bureau in which an offender fraudulently received large consumption tax refunds for luxury watches by pretending to export them.
Also, the number of tax-cheating cases related to reconstruction after the March 2011 massive earthquake and tsunami climbed from three to 12.
Of the reconstruction cases, six were handled by the Sendai Regional Taxation Bureau in Miyagi Prefecture, one of the three Tohoku prefectures hit hardest by the disaster.
The number of tax evasion cases linked to solar power generation businesses rose from two to 10 following introduction of a feed-in tariff system that requires power firms to buy renewable energy-derived electricity at fixed prices.