An Auckland man, who a judge says used Inland Revenue as a bank to prop up failing businesses, has been sent to prison for nearly five years.

Peter Martin Coleman was sentenced yesterday in the Auckland District Court to 4 years and 9 months in prison on a raft of tax charges under the Crimes Act and the Tax Administration Act. His actions resulted in an actual loss to Inland Revenue of $1,071,837.49.

Inland Revenue spokesperson Tony Morris says Coleman committed 41 tax related offences between July 2011 and July 2015.

“Coleman filed GST returns so he would receive money from IR but didn’t file returns if he would have to pay tax or GST. This from someone with 24 years working in the management and financial services industry.

“From mid-2014 Coleman was under investigation by IR and his home was searched in May 2015. He hasn’t filed any personal tax returns from 1993.

“He was making his living operating failing businesses and made continuing promises he would file documents, including outstanding income tax returns, as required by IR. We gave him many, remarkably generous time extensions to do that – and got nothing.

“He clearly had no intention of filing the documents. To do so would, of course, have revealed incompetent management and accounting practices. It would also have revealed his dishonesty.

“The evidence against him was overwhelming and the Judge in his case found him guilty on all charges,” Tony Morris says.

Coleman’s personal and company history includes company liquidations, un-paid tax debt, near bankruptcy, unpaid child support and hidden bank accounts to hide non-disclosed income in.

“While most people are honest and pay tax on all their income, those who intentionally avoid paying tax or claim money they aren’t entitled to, are robbing honest people of services they might have had.

“Honest New Zealanders can be assured that Inland Revenue won’t let tax cheats get away with stealing tax money that would normally go towards funding vital services such as hospitals, schools and roads,” Tony Morris says.

Coleman faced 41 in total – 33 were for knowingly providing false information in GST and income tax returns; 5 were for failing to provide information to IR with the intention of evading the assessment or payment of tax; and one each of evading tax, dishonestly using a document and using a forged document.