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2009 media releases

Tiler jailed for $1.6 million tax evasion
14 August 2009

A West Auckland tiler has been jailed for three years and four months on tax evasion charges involving $1,617,705.

Somsanit Phommasa was sentenced today in the Waitakere District Court, after earlier admitting 121 charges of GST, PAYE and income tax evasion.

Inland Revenue Manager Investigations, Assurance, Richard Philp, said the sentence sends a strong message.

"Those who try to cheat the system will be caught, and this sentence sends a strong message that their actions will be treated very seriously," said Mr Philp.

"Phommasa was not only ripping off the community by failing to pay his taxes, but he was also taking an unfair advantage over other businesses."

"Honest businesses deserve to see action taken against others who are dodging their obligations and making it hard for those businesses to compete on an even playing field," said Mr Philp.

While Phommasa charged his customers GST, he did not make any payments to Inland Revenue between May 1998 and November 2006. The GST not accounted for amounted to $479,607.

He also failed to file income tax returns between May 1999 and November 2006, and the amount of income tax assessed as owing was $1,138,098.

Phommasa arranged for Thai nationals to come to New Zealand to do tiling work, and also employed other people already in NZ but failed to deduct PAYE from any of his employees.

Between 1998 and 2007 bank accounts controlled by Phommasa showed significant levels of activity, with deposits exceeding $3.5 million. Large cash withdrawals were also made.

For further information:

Catherine Delore
(04) 890 1698
(029) 890 1698
catherine.delore@ird.govt.nz

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Date published: 17 Aug 2009

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