A Tauranga-based property developer has been jailed for 2-1/2 years for tax evasion and dishonesty worth more than $230,000.

Angela Therese Beckett, also known as Angela Breingan, was sentenced today in Tauranga District Court after being found guilty of five charges of providing false GST returns to obtain a refund, deliberately failing to file a GST return, and dishonesty regarding the use of a document.

Inland Revenue estimated Beckett, 49, illegally obtained over $135,000, failed to pay nearly $37,000 GST on her business sales, and attempted to claim a further $60,388 by filing a false return.

Beckett was involved in a property development partnership, Ant Hill Developments, and a company, Three Fish Developments, making false claims through both entities, including the alleged purchase of a property in which she was living. An Inland Revenue audit found this transaction never took place.

The audit was subsequently widened and found Beckett had requested two further GST refunds in 2007 and 2008, also regarding three property transactions which had not occurred.

Investigations also showed Beckett failed to file the October 2008 GST return and account for almost $37,000 GST from a property sale.

Inland Revenue assurance investigations manager Jonathan Matthews, speaking after the sentencing, said Beckett deliberately set out to claim money which she was not entitled to.

"Our tax system relies on honesty and compliance and the sentence sends a clear message as to the consequences of making dishonest claims and attempting to avoid Inland Revenue's compliance rules."

- NZPA