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A former Queenstown property developer was yesterday sentenced to 120 hours' community work for failing to file GST and income tax returns for five years.
Ross John Allan (68) previously admitted 42 charges laid under the Tax Administration Act 1994.
In the Queenstown District Court yesterday Judge Bernadette Farnan said Allan - one of the original Bendemeer developers - had been working as a business consultant, was registered for Goods and Services Tax and received income in the financial years ending March 2012 to 2016.
However, he failed to file any GST returns for those periods on a two-monthly basis, as was required.
He also failed to file income tax returns by July 7 between 2012 and 2016.
Judge Farnan said Allan was given notice of those dates, was "regularly'' sent reminder notices by the Inland Revenue Department and was contacted by IRD staff.
Allan had been in "serious financial difficulty'' - he was discharged bankrupt in March 2013.
Charges were filed against the superannuitant in 2017 and he admitted the offending in October last year.
All but seven returns had been filed by yesterday's appearance.
Through his lawyer, Jono Ross, Allan said four had been filed manually and Allan's accountant had all of the information required to file the remaining three.
While prosecutor Sarah McKenzie submitted it was "significant, ongoing offending over several years'', Mr Ross submitted it was not a situation where Allan was wilfully failing to file returns.
"You were in severe financial difficulty and simply didn't have the funds available,'' Judge Farnan said.
She felt the number of charges indicated "some contempt'' on Allan's part for the Tax Administration Act but said for him it appeared "more a matter of you putting your head in the sand''.
While Allan was fined $8000, and ordered to pay $390 in court costs and $750 in solicitors' fees, he did not have the financial means to pay that amount.
Judge Farnan subsequently converted his fines and costs to community work, which could be converted to training. However, he was still ordered to pay the solicitors' fees.
"You can't put your head in the sand now, you've got to do the community work,'' she told him.