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Food vendor sentenced on tax fraud

An Upper Hutt man was sentenced to a year’s home detention for tax fraud.

Keith Thomas Jaques ran various food vending businesses over the years, mainly selling donuts, coffee and churros at sporting and cultural events.  The business operated between Wellington and Auckland and included events at large stadiums such as:  Wellington Stadium, Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland and FMG Stadium in Hamilton. 

In 2019, Jaques was charged with aiding and abetting two companies to file false or misleading GST returns and aiding and abetting two companies which failed to make PAYE deductions when required, and filing false personal tax returns. 

In 2021 he was charged again for evading or trying to evade the assessment or payment of GST, failing to make PAYE deductions and not providing information to Inland Revenue with the intention of evading the assessment or payment of tax.

After a 9-day judge alone trial he was found guilty on 8 of the 10 offences he had faced. This month he was sentenced to 12 months home detention.

The Court found that Jaques hired very large numbers of casual staff throughout his businesses to work in donut/coffee/churro carts or roam as a “hawker.” The casual staff were mainly students.  Jaques knew he should deduct PAYE but decided not to. 

Information obtained by IR showed grossly understated the reported sales of his businesses. 

At trial, the Court found that Jaques had complete control over his businesses and cash sales were intentionally underreported, the Court noted however that the exact figure of evaded tax was impossible to determine.

The Court found that Jaques evaded the assessment or payment of between $200,000 and $500,000 over a 6-year period.

The Court was told the offending was not a temporary slip. It was premeditated, repetitive and prolonged. Jaques made the conscious decision to provide false revenue information for tax returns for straightforward financial self-interest.

IR told the judge the case is a wilful example of repeated evasion against Inland Revenue, depriving the wider public of a substantial sum of money. The victim is society at large and the public purse. It also damages the integrity of the tax system.
Last updated: 08 Jul 2024
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