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Courier driver who blamed fake tax agent is sentenced

A Papamoa-based courier driver who lied and blamed a non-existent tax agent for mishandling his tax affairs has been sentenced to 12 months home detention and ordered to pay back $180,000.

Dave Rawiri Tekani was also given 400 hours of community work having previously pleaded guilty to 37 charges of tax evasion totalling more than $160,000 and today admitted to an additional $70,000 more.

Patrick Goggin, Inland Revenue Group Manager Investigations and Advice, said Tekani accepted he knew what his tax obligations were but deliberately ignored them.

"Tekani's actions cheated all hard-working tax payers of New Zealand," said Mr Goggin. "He has denied people of money that pays for vital services such as hospitals and schools," he said.

Tekani started a courier business in 2009, he employed staff, charged GST on the services he provided but never registered his company with Inland Revenue or file a GST, PAYE or income tax returns.

"When we interviewed Tekani in 2012," said Mr Goggin "he blamed his tax agent saying the agent was responsible for handling his tax affairs and the payments Tekani owed.

"When we dug deeper, we found Tekani's tax agent didn't even exist. Tekani had lied and made-up a false name thinking he could get away with not paying his fair share of tax.

"Inland Revenue takes these matters seriously. When people deliberately try to rip-off the system they are ripping off all honest, hardworking New Zealand taxpayers," he said.

"We encourage everyone to talk to us early if they are setting up in business so we can help," said Mr Goggin. "Our online business videos are a great tool for anyone starting out and make understanding tax easier," he said.

Tekani was sentenced in the Tauranga District Court today having evaded more than $70,000 of GST, more than $58,000 of PAYE and almost $34,000 in income tax.