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How we address tax crime

Tax crime occurs when people abuse our tax system by intentionally avoiding paying tax or claiming money they're not really entitled to. Find out what you can do to help and how we deal with this problem.

While most people do the right thing, those who abuse our tax system for their own financial benefit are committing a crime. Tax criminals rob honest people of services they might have had and undermine the community.

Some of the ways that businesses and individuals cheat the tax system include:

  • over-reporting their business expenses
  • doing jobs "under the table" for cash and under-reporting that income, or
  • not declaring their income at all.

Help us stop tax crime

There are a number of ways you can help make sure everyone pays their fair share.

Make payments electronically

Cash is legal tender and you're entitled to pay for anything in cash. However, when you pay for something in cash, it makes it easier for the recipient to hide that income.

Some people ask to be paid in cash which might be an indication they'll try to hide it.

As a customer, you can help your payment be accounted for by the recipient by:

  • checking your purchase amount is rung up on the till (not as cash)
  • asking for a receipt
  • asking for a tax invoice
  • paying with a bank card or electronically into the recipient's bank account.

Following these steps makes it much harder for the recipient to hide their income and helps to make sure the correct tax is paid on your purchase.

Reporting people who cheat

If you know of a person or business that's dodging their tax, you can report them to us anonymously. Give us as many details as you can and we'll look into it.

Cheats undermine our community - you can help stop them.

Report tax evasion or fraud anonymously

Complete this form to report tax crime now

The fight against tax crime

We're committed to dealing with people who deliberately and dishonestly cheat the tax system.

Preventing tax crime

We take various steps to prevent people from committing tax crime and make sure everyone pays their share of tax. These steps include:

  • making tax rules and processes simpler
  • educating people and providing tools to help get it right
  • working with people who get it wrong and helping them put it right
  • telling people our focus areas and offering them the chance to come forward and put it right
  • using data to detect tax evasion and fraud
  • auditing people or businesses where we want more detailed information about how they manage their tax affairs
  • charging penalties or prosecuting people who cheat on their taxes
  • getting your help to make sure everyone pays their fair share.

Tax crime prosecutions

While most people do the right thing, we're committed to dealing with those that have deliberately evaded paying their fair share of tax, including taking prosecution action where necessary.

You can read media articles outlining Inland Revenue's successful prosecutions on the IRD News website.