Non-payment of $250,000 tax admitted

Rangiora businessman John Robert Stevens has admitted aiding and betting the non-payment of nearly $250,000 to Inland Revenue, a year after the liquidation of the Shalimar Knitwear company he owned.

Stevens, 65, admitted 34 charges of aiding and abetting the company to pay tax deductions or withholding tax for purposes other than payments to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue.

Christchurch District Court Judge Tony Couch remanded him on bail for sentencing on October 20. He asked for a pre-sentence report to consider Stevens’ suitability for a home detention sentence.

Inland Revenue prosecutor Paul Saunders said the company had been set up in 1992, to supply knitwear to retailers all over the country. Stevens and his wife were joint directors.

When the company was liquidated in the High Court a year ago, on the application of the Commissioner, it owed the Commissioner $920,572 in all types of tax, penalties, and interest.

Mr Saunders said: “The company failed to account for $262,987 in PAYE deductions, KiwiSaver employee deductions and employer contributions, Student Loan Employer Deductions, and Employer Superannuation contributions by the due dates (the 20th of each month), for 34 tax periods between March 2013 and January 2016.”

Late payments received after the due dates reduced the figure to $248,394.

Stevens was involved in discussions about PAYE debt, and warned by Inland Revenue officers that failing to pay the tax to the Commissioner could lead to prosecution. “Despite this, the offending continued,” said Mr Saunders.

An analysis showed that on 28 occasions, payment in full could have been made, and that other creditors were paid during this period, Inland Revenue said.

Stevens explained to the department that cashflow issues arising from a defaulted loan, the aftermath of the earthquakes, and insurance issues had led to the PAYE payments not being made.


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