Tax advisers Barrie Skinner and David Rowley have been jailed after being found guilty in the High Court in Wellington of reaping $2 million from their fraudulent schemes.
The Inland Revenue Department welcomed Skinner's eight-and-a-half year jail term and Rowley's eight-years, after the sentencing in Wellington on Friday.
The pair were convicted of filing fraudulent tax returns on behalf of their clients where they claimed fake expenses in excess of $9 million, and were also found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
"This sentence shows that Inland Revenue and the courts view such offending very seriously," Patrick Goggin, IRD group manager assurance, said in a statement.
"Advisers need to take care when advising clients who are under investigation and Skinner and Rowley crossed the line by coaching their clients to lie to Inland Revenue."
The pair filed false income tax and GST returns on behalf of their clients through the agency, Tax Planning Services, for goods and services that were never provided. Their clients paid an invoice for the claim but received the bulk of the payment back.
The net result reduced their clients' tax liability, and left Skinner and Rowley to pocket the difference.