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Auckland tradesman sentenced to 10 months home detention for tax evasion

A recidivist Auckland tax cheat has been sentenced to 10 months home detention and ordered to pay $92,400 reparation, following a second conviction for tax evasion offences.

Sonny Te Kanawa Walker, a 50-year-old carpet layer, was sentenced at Manukau District Court on a range of tax evasion offences, including not filing tax returns and not accounting for GST and income tax for six years.

Inland Revenue Group Manager, Investigations and Advice, Patrick Goggin said Walker's offending was calculated, deliberate and inexcusable.

"Walker was clearly aware of his tax obligations and he wilfully chose to ignore them. He had already been convicted of these types of offences once before so there was no way he didn't understand his responsibility to file returns and pay tax," Mr Goggin said.

"By pocketing all of his income, he made a conscious decision he did not need to pay his fair share of tax while other honest New Zealand taxpayers did."

Walker worked as a self-employed carpet layer since 2004, charging clients for his labour and GST. In 2009 he was prosecuted by Inland Revenue for similar tax evasion offences, yet continued to offend.

"This sort of behaviour completely undermines our tax system, which is based on voluntary compliance," said Mr Goggin. "While the majority of taxpayers do the right thing, there is a few like Walker who think they can hang on the coattails of others and get away with not paying."

"That money Walker should have paid would have gone towards vital Government services that we all rely on, such as hospitals, schools and welfare."

Mr Goggin said Inland Revenue was working hard to make sure tradespeople were aware of their tax obligations. A survey of tradies after a recent marketing campaign showed those who thought that cheating on their tax was a crime had increased by 40% since 2012.

The amount of unpaid tax from the combined offending, including penalties and interest, is more than $440,000.