Church Donation Tax Cheat Sentenced

March 3, 2010 New Zealand Taxation

Wellington ChurchAn Upper Hut resident who defrauded the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) for NZD 41 000 by using a system fake church donations has been sentenced to seven months home detention and 120 hours of community service.

James Talaga Toala, received sentencing at the Wellington District Court on February 26th, after pleading guilty to six charges of using documents to defraud or receive monetary gain. It was alleged by the IRD that in the period between April 2002 and March 2008 James Toala claimed to make a series of donations to a Wellington church, in order to receive an undue tax credit. The court heard that a total of 79 rebate forms filed with the IRD, totaling NZD 163 110, though none of them were ever actually paid. Further, each claim was accompanied by a false receipt. James Toala received NZD 41 491 worth of rebates for his claims.

No reparation is being sought from Mr. Toala, as the court was told that he is not in a financial position to pay. Patrick Goggin, Inland Revenue Investigations Manager, commented on the sentencing, saying that the ruling was a message to anyone else considering committing similar actions. As a warning, he continued on to say “As with other areas where taxpayers can claim rebates, we’re always watching closely for any fraudulent activity involving donations.”

Photo by justinwyne