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Tax crime happens when people cheat the tax system through deliberate and dishonest behaviour so they can get some kind of financial benefit.

For example, when people:

  • claim money they're not entitled to
  • claim more business expenses than they really had, so they pay less tax on their income
  • do jobs "under the table" for cash and hide some or all of that income
  • do not file tax returns when they're supposed to
  • do not declare their income at all.

These people are considered tax criminals.

While most people are honest and pay tax on all their income or claim only what they're entitled to, those that do not are robbing everyone of services they might have had.

That's why we help people do the right thing and take action when people deliberately try to avoid paying tax.

Why everyone pays tax

If you work in New Zealand you have to pay tax on any money you earn. We collect tax on behalf of the Government and your tax helps benefit the New Zealand community. Your tax pays for public services and that's why it's fair when everyone contributes.

You have to pay tax even if you:

  • are paid in cash
  • only earned a small amount
  • are only in New Zealand for a small amount of time.

What your tax is used for

Tax pays for public services people cannot fund on their own, such as:

  • social security and welfare
  • health
  • education
  • transport and communications
  • emergency services
  • law and order.

What we're focusing on

Read about how we're dealing with tax crime in the building sector, or our focus on multinational businesses paying the right amount of tax.

IR updates its compliance focus on multinationals

Last updated: 28 Apr 2021
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