Small liquor retailers face tax probe

wine display in a wine store (Source: Bigstock)

Some smaller liquor outlets are facing allegations of underpayment of taxes, migrant exploitation, unreported cash sales and poor record-keeping from New Zealand’s Inland Revenue Department.

The tax office conducted 220 unannounced visits nationwide and found more than 100 employees who had PAYE deducted from their income but none of the funds had been paid to the agency.

Inland Revenue said it already started investigations and that nine outlets had been referred for audit.

The department also found companies with multiple family members and changes of ownership that demonstrated less clear money trails and some directors appeared to be in-name only with minimal knowledge of the business or their responsibilities.

In addition, the agency found that some stores paid under-the-table wages and allowed migrants or family members who are not registered as staff, to work.

It noted evidence of poor employee relations in some cases.

Inland Revenue said they will closely watch these stores over the next 12 months.

The government agency added it is only the start of a broader look into smaller liquor stores nationwide and how they operate.

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