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Auckland builder gets 34 months’ jail for evading more than $500,000 in tax

A South Auckland builder who gambled away more than $560,000 at Sky City casino while paying no tax has been sent to prison for two years 10 months.

Rajesh Sami, from Papatoetoe, was sentenced in Papakura District Court yesterday on 17 tax evasion charges relating to the 2011 to 2015 tax years.

Inland Revenue Group Tax Counsel Graham Tubb said Sami hadn’t filed any income tax or GST returns during the seven-year period, resulting in just under $550,000 of unpaid tax. He transferred significant amounts of business income into his and his partner’s personal bank accounts, and had also received large sums of cash payment from his clients.

“Mr Sami seemed to think he could operate under the radar of the tax system, not declaring any of his quite considerable income and not returning any of the GST he charged clients for his building services. His behaviour was nothing less than deplorable, and an insult to the vast majority of fair-minded New Zealanders who pay their fair share of tax,” Mr Tubb said.

“When an investigation began in 2015, he continued to be un-cooperative and disingenuous about his true earnings. Through a nominated person, income tax returns were eventually filed which grossly underreported his income by more than half.”

For the tax years 2011-2015, it was assessed that Sami’s gross income was just under $1.8 million and the income tax evaded was $433,571. During the same period he was assessed as having not paid $115,676 in GST, and aided his partner to evade $120,615 of income tax.

“We take this sort of offending extremely seriously. The public should be assured that Inland Revenue will do all in its power to prevent tax cheats from evading their taxes on this scale.”

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