18 Dec 2014

Auckland reverend jailed for tax evasion

6:50 pm on 18 December 2014

An Auckland Assembly of God minister has been jailed for three years for failing to pay more than a $1 million in tax.

Inland Revenue said Tosala Fauatea, also known as Laumoli Sefatu, admitted 61 tax evasion charges between 2007 and 2011 while he ran a trust providing labourers to fruit and vegetable growers.

It said in many instances Fauatea charged for GST or deducted tax from his employees' wages but did not pass that money onto Inland Revenue.

The department's investigations manager, Patrick Goggin, said Fauatea ignored offers of help from the agency and knew what he was doing was wrong.

He told Checkpoint the agency gave him many opportunities to correct the issue.

"That wasn't innocent at all. Mr Fauatea was struggling with his tax obligations," Mr Goggin said.

"We sent out some of our staff ... compliance officers to provide him advice to show and explain to him how he's required to comply with his tax obligations."

Mr Goggin said the money was used for the Church.