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Complex tax evasion case sounds a warning to tax cheats

Inland Revenue has welcomed the sentences handed to two men in the Wellington High Court today for their involvement in complicated and carefully planned tax evasion schemes.

Group Tax Counsel, Graham Tubb, said that the sentences given to Scott Crawford Anderson and Brent John Gilchrist are a warning that people operating illegal evasion schemes will face serious consequences.

"The outcome of these cases is the culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication by Inland Revenue investigators, legal advisors and digital forensic staff and the Crown Solicitor.

"This was a long running investigation which not only reflects the premeditated and aggressive arrangements set-up to steal taxpayers' money, but the dedication of our people in unraveling them, and seeing that justice has been done.

"Those involved were motivated by greed and ego. Their tactics included issuing false invoices and the use of an offshore bank account, which when used as part of a tax evasion scheme, amounted to fraud as a service, as the Judge said."

Mr Tubb said that the cases are another reminder that those people who provide advice on tax evasion and fraud schemes, and help to facilitate them, are breaking the law as much as those who participate in them.

"Tax professionals such as advisors and agents have a duty to uphold the integrity of the tax system and the vast majority work hard to ensure that those they offer help to are operating within the rules. Unfortunately some will try and cheat the tax system as will those who choose to take that advice.

"Inland Revenue as part of its compliance programme is using increasingly sophisticated methods to detect tax evasion and fraud schemes, and will take action against serious non-compliance.

"Despite their concerted and sophisticated efforts, those involved ultimately failed to stay ahead of the law, they were caught and they ended being convicted."