ACT desires the IRD to chase unlawful gang earnings – by sending them a questionaire

ACT leader David Seymour says he wants the IRD to chase gang members who avoid paying tax.

ROBERT KITCHIN/Stuff

ACT leader David Seymour says he wants the IRD to chase gang members who avoid paying tax.

ACT leader David Seymour wants the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) to use its powers to investigate gang members.

The Taxation (Income Tax Rate and Other Amendments) Bill was passed into law in December 2020 with the Government giving the IRD the power to question individuals about where all their sources of wealth come from – specifically whether they were using tax loopholes and trusts to avoid paying tax.

At the time, Revenue Minister David Parker said it would allow the Commissioner of Inland Revenue to gather information from taxpayers to ensure the law was being followed.

Seymour said it wanted to use those same powers “to investigate gang members’ income and tax paid”.

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“The Labour Government has given the Inland Revenue Commissioner power to ask for any financial information, no matter how private or personal,” he said.

“ACT would take those powers and tell Inland Revenue – stop with the tall poppy syndrome, stop targeting New Zealand’s most successful who are already paying huge amounts of tax on their legal incomes.

“Instead, we can identify a case of high-rollers who are not paying their fair share of tax.”

STUFF

Revenue Minister David Parker discusses a bill which would set out principles of fairness in the tax system (video first published in May).

He said gangs survive based on their ability to evade the law and while the information collected by the IRD can’t be used to lock up gang members directly, the information could be used to improve future policies on taxing gangs.

Broadcaster Rebecca Wright challenged Seymour about his plans on Newshub Nation on Saturday.

She asked whether the IRD sending a questionnaire to gang members about where their income came from would work, and if gang members would comply.

Seymour said they would have to comply because it was illegal not to, and they would be fined.

”And if they don’t pay those fines they eventually go to jail.”

He said gangs made huge profits from illegal activities, mainly from the drug trade, and if the Government could find out where their profits came from they would be better able to crack down on the illegal drug trade and those running it.

“ACT is sending a clear message that it expects existing laws to be enforced, and it will empower the police and government agencies to enforce it, focussing on criminals rather than high achieving Kiwis. Tax law applies to everyone, even gang members.”