A Canterbury rebuild businessman has been sentenced to more than three years jail - after failing to pay $1.5-million in employee tax deductions.

47-year-old Libor Lasek was sentenced on 44 charges relating to five building companies in the Christchurch District Court today.

Inland Revenue say he didn't pass on PAYE deductions from employee's pay - or KiwiSaver, child support, superannuation or student loan payments over a four-year period.

IRD's Tony Morris says he showed contempt for the tax system.

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He says Libor Lasek was given multiple opportunities to put things right - and took an unfair advantage over building competitors.

Most of the money is unlikely to be recovered.