The boss of Masala restaurant has pleaded guilty to 34 charges of tax evasion and nine accounts money laundering. Rupinder Singh Chahil is now a part of the growing list of restaurateurs that have been sentenced for similar charges, reminding those in the foodservice industry to play by the rules.

Chahil’s charges related to his 17 Masal restaurants between 2010 and 2015, as well as purposefully filing falsified GST returns to Inland Revenue between 2009 and 2014. Along with Chahil, another man with interim name suppression was also charged with money laundering.

In an article recently published by the IRD, they are urging restaurateurs that they will track down and prosecute businesses deliberately hiding cash sales—“no matter how long it takes.” They also said that they have recently launched a fresh hidden economy campaign that looks to target the hospitality sector.

“The hospitality sector has high risks when it comes to hidden economy activity and undeclared income because of the high number of cash transactions and the more short-term nature of employees,” said Richard Philp, IR spokesperson. “We can see things like staff being paid under the table and the inconsistencies between supplies bought and goods sold. Cash leaves a clear trail for IR to follow, and we do follow through no matter how long it takes.”

“All taxpayers play an important role in helping us protect the integrity of the tax system by making sure everyone pays their fair share. After all, tax pays for the essential things that make New Zealand a great place to live.”