Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Cafe owner jailed on tax evasion charges

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Elizabeth Juilian Tangikau ran the cafe at the NZ Post centre in Highbrook. Photo Jessica Kwok.

A mother of six has been sentenced to prison for tax evasion.

Elizabeth Juilian Tangikau was sentenced to two years and three months imprisonment at the Auckland District Court on March 26.

Tangikau ran the cafe at the NZ Post centre in Highbrook, a cafe that was also open to the public.

Over the course of six years (during the 2015-2020 tax years inclusive), Tangikau evaded her income tax and GST obligations by filing 75 false tax returns that significantly understated her business income and claimed excessive expenditure.

By understating her income, Tangikau also received at least $42,447.69 of family assistance payments she was not entitled to.

Tangikau also misappropriated payroll taxes (PAYE). Rather than pay to Inland Revenue the PAYE she deducted from her employees, Tangikau kept the amounts for herself.

In total, Tangikau’s offending caused loss to New Zealand taxpayers of at least $420,832.06.

On a number of occasions, Inland Revenue tried to help Tangikau, ensuring she had access to the necessary resources to comply with her obligations.

Tangikau was also reminded of the serious consequences which may result from non-compliance.

Tangikau nevertheless persisted with her offending and did not respond to any of the subsequent attempts by Inland Revenue to assist her to regularise her tax affairs.

In a letter to the court, Tangikau expressed remorse for her actions and said she understood her behaviour had a significant impact on every New Zealander.

The judge noted the offending was serious, happened over a long period of time, and involved a large amount of money.

The judge also noted there was a lack of attempt, even now, to make amends. A sentence of imprisonment was the appropriate response.

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