An Auckland pharmacist who said he earned just $10,404 during one year and was probed by Inland Revenue for "possible tax evasion" has lost a bid to keep his identity secret.

Pharmacist Jawahar Bhaskar Musuku didn't file income tax returns on time between 2001 and 2005, a High Court judge said earlier this year.

Musuku said that his attempts to comply with Inland Revenue were "frustrated by the incompetence of accountants".

But because of Musuku's failure to file the returns, Inland Revenue audited his financial affairs in August 2006 and opened a formal file relating to "possible tax evasion" later that year.


According to a High Court judgment, when Musuku filed returns for the period in question, he claimed his annual income ranged between $10,404 in 2005 and $20,856 in 2003.

But the tax department put forward the opinion that these tax returns bore little resemblance to the lifestyle or expenses or assets of Musuku and his family, the court decision says.

Inland Revenue in 2010 proposed to adjust Musuku's annual income for tax purposes to between $329,000 in 2005 and $808,665 in 2002.

After meetings with Musuku, Inland Revenue in 2013 reduced the proposed adjustments by around 30 per cent but the pharmacist again claimed the original tax returns were correct.

Musuku then applied for judicial review of Inland Revenue's decisions.

The first decision was Inland Revenue forming the opinion that Musuku's income tax returns for the disputed periods did not mention income which was of a particular nature or derived from a particular source or were fraudulent or willfully misleading.

He also wanted a judicial review of Inland Revenue issuing the 2013 statement of position proposing the income adjustments.

But Justice Mark Woolford threw out of the judicial review in April and commented that Musuku essentially wanted to stop the investigation into his tax affairs and get a court order that Inland Revenue was to accept the validity of his income returns.


The judge thought that judicial review was not appropriate in the case and said that the decisions Musuku was disputing weren't, in fact, decisions but an opinion and a proposal.

Last month Musuku sought an order that this judicial review decision not be published or that his name be left off it.

He was concerned that the decision referred to his name, his occupation as a pharmacist, Inland Revenue's investigation of "possible tax evasion", income, and the tax department's "suspicion of fraudulent or misleading behaviour".

Musuku's lawyer said the dispute was now before the Taxation Review Authority and that his client may be vindicated. Cases before that authority are not public and details remain confidential.

But Justice Peter Woodhouse said Musuku chose to bring the judicial review application in the High Court, a forum where there is generally no anonymity.

"He is not justified, having received the adverse decision, in now complaining and pointing to the Taxation Review Authority alternative," Justice Woodhouse said a judgment recently made public.

The judge dismissed the application for suppression or confidentiality.

See the full High Court decision on the suppression bid here: