Katikati woman found guilty of 51 tax evasion charges

By Sandra Conchie of the Bay of Plenty Times

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

A Katikati woman found guilty of committing almost $168,000 worth of tax evasion offences claimed she spent most of the money on her husband's funeral and also gave it away to family.

Lisa Lee Hilda Lamelangi, 37, on trial in the Tauranga District Court last week, was found guilty of 51 counts of tax evasion relating to her failure to file GST, PAYE and income tax returns and also failing to pay taxes she owed for the 2005 and 2006 tax years. The jury returned their 51 guilty verdicts on Friday.

Judge Thomas Ingram remanded Lamelangi in custody for a pre-sentence report and sentencing on June 28.

The Crown summary of facts revealed that on August 6, 1999, Lamelangi and her late husband registered their Matamoana Partnership with Inland Revenue for GST and income tax purposes. Specifically, the partnership registered its business activities as agricultural services.

On September 1, 1999, the partnership also registered with IRD as employers for PAYE tax.

Inland Revenue audited the partnership books during the tax years 2001 and 2002 and the partners were provided with education and guidance to assist with their tax compliance.

On March 31, 2001 the partnership ceased trading and IRD was notified. The partnership was deregistered for all taxes.

At the time the partnership owed $24,110 in taxes which were written off under the Tax Administration Act's hardship provisions.

Mr Lamelangi was hospitalised in 2004 with a terminal illness and died on February 4, 2005.

During 2004, Mrs Lamelangi began trading again in the name of the partnership as an agricultural services provider, and in March the same year she issued an invoice for $4850 (GST inclusive) for contract work undertaken for Aongatete Coolstore. She had the partnership re-registered for GST as an employer in June 2004, however she subsequently contacted Inland Revenue and had the partnership retrospectively cancelled. Despite that, during the 2005 and 2006 tax years Lamelangi issued invoices for contract work under the partnership's name totalling $211,808.56 (including GST) but failed to file any GST, PAYE or income tax returns. She did not pay any taxes over these periods.

An IRD audit established the total tax shortfall was estimated at $167,276.68 - made up of $65,319.76 of GST, $96,532.41 PAYE and $5424.52 income tax.

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