22 Apr 2015

Orchardist sentenced for IRD scam

6:42 pm on 22 April 2015

A Bay of Plenty man has been sentenced to home detention for using backpackers' IRD numbers to scam more than $250,000 from the tax system.

The Inland Revenue Department said Harjinder Singh claimed backpackers and other tourists he hired as temporary workers on his kiwifruit orchard were still employed by him, and used their numbers to manipulate the system.

The 36-year-old was sentenced to ten months home detention at Hamilton District Court yesterday after pleading guilty to 16 charges of PAYE evasion.

Inland Revenue said it acted quickly to stop Singh and help over 120 victims whose IRD numbers were likely to have been misused - and it has refunded any overpaid tax.

Inland Revenue's group manager of investigations and advice Patrick Goggin said such cases were rare.