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Gisborne Fisherman Sentenced On Tax Evasion Charges

A Gisborne fisherman has been sentenced to seven and a half months home detention and 100 hours community work on tax evasion charges.

Reweti Ruka Waikari was sentenced in the Gisborne District Court on 19 December on 3 representative charges of trying to evade GST, business, and personal income tax.

The offending started just two years after Waikari was convicted for failing to file other income tax and GST returns.

Waikari ran Elohim Fishing Ltd (EFL) from 2013 to 2020. EFL didn’t filed any income tax returns at all and didn’t file GST returns after September 2014. Waikari didn’t file any personal tax returns from 2015 until 2020.

EFL received multiple reminder notices regarding unfiled GST and income tax returns, as well as early and repeated education on its tax obligations and two Business Advisory visits.

When IR talked to him on the phone, he said he would provide the information, but the information never arrived.

In total, Waikari tried to evade the assessment or payment of $216,152.05 of tax. $27,330.51 has been recovered via enforcement action.

The court was told Waikari benefitted personally from his offending. No amounts have been voluntarily repaid and it represents a substantial debt to Inland Revenue and, ultimately, the wider public.

The court heard defrauding Inland Revenue is not a victimless crime but something which ultimately affects the whole of society.

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