An Upper Hutt food vendor has been sentenced after he evaded paying between $200,000 and $500,000 in tax over six years.

Inland Revenue said Keith Thomas Jaques’ offending was “premeditated, repetitive and prolonged”.

Jaques ran a series of food vending businesses, mainly selling doughnuts, coffee, and churros at sports and cultural events.

His business operated between Wellington and Auckland and included events at large stadiums like Wellington Stadium, Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland, and FMG Stadium in Hamilton.

In 2019, Jaques was charged with aiding and abetting two companies to file false or misleading GST returns. He was also charged with aiding and abetting two companies that failed to make PAYE deductions when required, as well as filing false personal tax returns.

In 2021, he was again charged, this time for evading or trying to evade the assessment or payment of GST, failing to make PAYE deductions, and not providing information to IRD with the intention of evading the assessment or payment of tax.

Jaques was found guilty of eight of the 10 charges following a nine-day judge-alone trial.

According to IRD, the court found Jaques hired “very large numbers” of casual staff — mainly students — to work at his food carts or roam as a “hawker” at events.

“Jaques knew he should deduct PAYE but decided not to,” IRD said.

“Information obtained by IR showed grossly understated the reported sales of his businesses.”

In court, it was found Jaques had “complete control over his businesses” and that cash sales were “intentionally underreported”.

“The Court noted, however, that the exact figure of evaded tax was impossible to determine.”

It was found that over six years, Jaques evaded the assessment or payment of tax between $200,000 and $500,000.

The court heard his offending was “not a temporary slip”, with IRD describing it as “premeditated, repetitive and prolonged”.

“Jaques made the conscious decision to provide false revenue information for tax returns for straightforward financial self-interest.”

IRD told the judge that the case was a “wilful example of repeated evasion against Inland Revenue, depriving the wider public of a substantial sum of money”.

“The victim is society at large and the public purse. It also damages the integrity of the tax system.”

Jaques was sentenced this month to a year’s home detention for tax fraud.

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