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Dodgy accountant gets 11 months’ home detention for filing false tax returns

An Auckland accountant who filed false income tax and GST returns on behalf of himself and several fictitious companies has been sentenced to 11 months home detention.

Michael Robert Naisbitt, 43, who lived in Tokoroa when the offending occurred, had earlier pleaded guilty in Auckland District Court to 26 charges of providing false information. He received $139,050 in refunds he wasn’t entitled to over a seven-year period. 

Inland Revenue’s Group Manager Investigations and Advice Patrick Goggin said the offending was particularly abhorrent because of Naisbitt’s trusted position as an accountant.

“I think the public have the right to expect that members of trusted professions will conduct themselves to the highest standards. Unfortunately, in this case Mr Naisbitt has fallen far short of that and brought the whole accounting profession into disrepute,” Mr Goggin said.

The offending started in 2007 when Naisbitt first filed false GST returns on behalf of a company he had established, which resulted in refunds on most occasions. He later extended this modus operandi to the respective income tax and GST returns of three other companies he created.

“He developed a systematic plan to minimise the risk of the offending being detected, and even went to the lengths of creating forged invoices to support his claims.

“Fortunately, Inland Revenue’s increasing use of sophisticated tools to detect tax cheats uncovered the offending.

“Honest New Zealanders can be assured that tax cheats won’t get away with stealing money that would normally go towards funding vital services such as hospitals, schools and roads.”

Naisbitt had paid reparation of $82,000 and has agreed to pay a further $2000 per month from the beginning of 2018 to repay the outstanding tax debt of $57,050.

Media contact: Pete van Schaardenburg 021 348696