A Bay of Plenty woman who has been sentenced to more than two years in jail for tax evasion said she used the money to pay back a loan and send to family in Tonga.
Lisa Lee Hilda Lamelangi, 37, was sentenced this morning at Tauranga District Court to two years and three months after being found guilty of tax evasion involving $167,000, the Inland Revenue Department said.
Between 2004 and 2007 the Katikati woman had issued invoices for $623,667 for agricultural services, but she didn't pay a cent in tax.
The Matamoana partnership, which the invoices were issued under, was not registered for GST on income tax or as an employer.
IRD estimated that Lamelangi evaded $167,000 in GST, income tax and PAYE.
In addition to the sentence, she was also ordered to pay reparation of $10,000.
A jury had earlier found her guilty on 31 charges of failing to deduct PAYE, 17 of evading the assessment of GST, and three of evading assessment of income tax.
Lamelangi set out to avoid tax responsibilities while taking advantage of other tax payers, Inland Revenue Group manager assurance Patrick Goggin said.
"Tax cheats put the responsibility on others to pay for the services that the community needs, such as schools, hospitals and roads, and that they expect to use themselves."
Lamelangi first came to IRD's attention in 1999 when her and her late husband registered a partnership for GST and income tax, and later PAYE.
The Matamoana partnership, which listed its business activity as agricultural services, was audited in 2000 and 2001 and was provided with training and guidance about their responsibilities, IRD said.
The couple ceased trading, and tax debts of $24,110 were written off under hardship provisions.
Lamelangi later admitted to tax evasion when IRD contacted her.
"She admitted the facts and said she'd used most of the unpaid tax to pay back a $60,000 loan and sent some back to families in Tonga," Goggin said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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