Auckland couple sentenced for $431k tax evasion in which children were used as 'puppets'

A husband and wife from South Auckland have received jail and home detention sentences for their role in $431,644 of tax evasion.

Source: 1 NEWS

The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) said today that the couple had also used their children as "puppets" by winding up business entities who were confronted about not paying tax before starting new, similar ones — sometimes in their childrens' name.

Tamanini Muaiava and wife Uputaua Muaiava were sentenced at Papakura District Court this week on a total of 65 charges related to evading or trying to evade payment of GST and PAYE.

Tamanini recieved a jail sentence of 21 months while Uputaua receive nine months of home detention.

"Tamanini and Uputaua Muaiava jointly operated businesses supplying labour to agricultural growers in South Auckland," IRD spokesperson Tony Morris said.

"When they were confronted about one company’s failure to pay tax, that company would be wound up and a new company incorporated to continue their trading.

"On at least three separate occasions they used one of their children as sole director and shareholder in a company.

The sentencing judge noted the children were "enlisted as mere puppets for the ongoing business".

The judge noted that English is a second language for Muaiava but rejected any claim of misunderstanding about his tax obligations.

IRD said Judge Winter had accepted that Tamanini felt pressure to pay his workers and may have tried to help them by giving them extra money for special circumstances like funerals.

He also accepted that the could now feel a deep sense of shame and remorse for their offending.