Lindsay Perigo
Lindsay Perigo

More Tales of the Trirds

Editor's note: These are samples from an ever-fattening folder of real-life horror stories from victims of the legal organised crime syndicate operating on behalf of the government. For authenticity's sake I have reproduced these letters unedited. To help protect the victims from further harassment, I am keeping their identities secret. See also Horror File at the back of this issue.

Firstly, I fully support an IRD (Trirds) enquiry. Twelve or so years ago, we received a letter from the IRD, stating we were being audited. We had no problem with this, as we always paid our tax on time & had nothing to hide. How WRONG we were!! We got all the information they required & sent it in as requested. As time went by the phone calls from the 'Hitler' IRD officer doing our audit became more rude & accusing. It wasn't too long before we began to get worried. My husband went into town & had an interview & was accused of tax evasion, etc.. Things got worse by the day. 'Hitler' wouldn't listen to a word we said. One morning, 'Hitler' & his offsider arrived on our doorstep at 7.30am. They entered our home, & looked in every room, including wardrobes, & took a note of all our possessions. They wanted to know what food we ate, what we gave visitors in the way of food & alcohol, how much our children's toys, clothes, & shoes cost. We were caught totally off guard & wondered what they were after.

As far as we could tell, they had nothing on us but were determined to find something. At that time I drove a Bambina & in that year we had replaced the tyres on the business vehicle, a Subaru. The day after the 'home invasion' we got a call to say the tyres we claimed were for the Bambina, not the Subaru. My husband laughed & told him to ring a tyre place with the tyre size & told him the size of Bambina tyres. Later that day he got another call to say he was lying. The accusation was so crazy, it was almost funny. 'Hitler' wouldn't listen & my husband became VERY irate. This issue went on for weeks, with regular accusing calls. It all came to a head one early morning phone call, when my husband couldn't take any more & he screamed down the phone, "You don't know your arse from your elbow," & slammed the phone down. At this point we really thought we were in for it & began to panic. Two days later, we got a letter stating we are being investigated for tax evasion & it listed all the penalties we could incur, including a prison sentence — we thought we were scared before this! We lived in constant fear, which bought a lot of tension into our home. The following week was sheer hell, then another letter arrived. It would have to be the most nerve- wracking letter we have ever opened. It stated: "On this occasion nothing was found," but went on to say if anything was found in the future, they would take action. We were relieved, but at that same time really pissed off to think this little 'Trird Prick' could turn our lives upside down for four months. He got the last laugh — those bloody tyres, we had to pay back half of what we claimed, plus other trivial things he picked on. We paid & were glad to get rid of him our of our lives.

To this day, we are at a loss to why he treated us so bad. We knew of another guy being audited at the same time & he made the comment, "I don't know if I should continue the audit or commit suicide." Thank goodness he chose the audit. Our story may sound tame but the Trirds totally invaded our lives for four months & we were accused of things we never did & couldn't prove our innocence.

Years went by & every letter we received from the IRD would cause a mild panic attack. Little did we know. About 5 years later we got a letter for another audit. This time it was only for power, telephone & travel. Even though it wasn't a full audit, we were petrified. We delivered all that was required into them & once again were called for an interview. My husband refused to go as he knew he'd lose his cool. I reluctantly went on my own. The guy doing this one was 'human' & after a while said his supervisor would like to ask me some questions. Guess who it was? Yep, 'Hitler'. The 'Prick' had obviously done a 'good Trird' job & was promoted. My heart stopped & I started to panic. He had a page of questions to ask me about the phone. Straight up he accused me of claiming my home phone. I told him we didn't. He told me I was lying, as he had all the invoices. He threw them on the table & said the initials state XY. I told him that's correct. He started to get stuck into me, when I butted in & told him we share the business premises with a brother-in-law & the phone is in his initials & we pay every second account. At that he got rather rude & insisted they were my initials. I had GREAT delight telling him, my brother-in-law is XY, I am YX. He stopped mid-sentence, looked at the paper, looked at me & then changed the attack.

This time he told me a business trip my husband had taken to Aussie, had included an airfare for me. I was stunned. Any idiot would have worked out this was a totally outrageous statement. At the time he flew, there was a REALLY cheap deal going & he flew to Sydney return for $199. That's all the claim was for. I ask you, how on earth could any rational person think we could both get there for $199? I got really annoyed at this point & told him so. He then stormed our of the office, screwing the paper up. I was stunned. This guy was out to get us. He failed the first time & was having another go now he had more power. The guy doing our audit apologised. At that point I would have loved to lay a complaint but was too scared. We ended up owing nothing. Would you believe, the following two years we had GST audits. We never saw 'Hitler' again but would almost lay money on him being behind it. On the third year in a row of audits, I asked why are they doing annual checks when they've found nothing. As it turned out, that audit showed they owed us money & we haven't heard from them since…touch wood.

If our lifestyle looked like we lived way above our income, then I can understand them looking at us, but we lived in a 25-year-old, three-bedroom, small wooden bungalow with no flash furniture — in fact most of it was second-hand & as for our vehicles, a Bambina is bottom of the heap & the Subaru was an old one.

Here I am justifying ourselves, which is crazy. That's what the IRD does to people. Even today, if we get an IRD letter my heart misses a beat. We are like many New Zealanders & live in fear of them. As far as I'm concerned, they are all a pack of bastards & look upon every self-employed person as a criminal. The quicker an independent investigation is done the better. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to finally speak out.

PS: I should give you our name & tax number, but I'm sorry, that fear is still VERY real.

As you seem to be fighting the battle of the hard done by taxpayers, I thought I would let you know of our case. A business I have a small interest in was audited in 94/95 for a business operation for the 93/94 year. Deficiencies were claimed by the IRD. This table was shown to us. It must have been around one to one & a half inches thick. As we knew not a thing about computers or their read-outs we were unable to make any sense of it. Anyway the IRD didn't put this table in our hands to read. We were never told what the original debts were and we being shocked and terrified took their word for it all. It seemed to me that we were facing the loss of everything we possessed. The people who gain the contracts to do this type of work seem to be of a threatening nature who have the ability to demonstrate that they have ultimate power over one.

The principal of the business is questionably on of the best cooks in Auckland, but a book-keeper he is not. Anyway the outcome of this after the IRD spending 10 months searching was an account of $100,000. I now realise it must have been penalties and usury and whatever. That amount equals about 25% of that year's turnover. The principal of the business had no money, there had been little profit, so because of his financial position my husband and I sold part of our retirement investment (small rental unit) to meet this demand on the understanding that that would be the end of the matter. What fools we were, because as a result of the power failure in Auckland CBD Feb/March 1998 it was not possible to take enough money to cover costs. Consequently the business made a small claim of about $1000 from GST for Feb/March 1998. The business has not been in operation since that time, but as small ongoing accounts have been settled small claims have been made. The $1000 claim was never even acknowledged. The business principal rang the IRD over this matter with no satisfaction. Later smaller GST claims were taken by IRD and transferred to some other account, of which the business has not been informed. Having requested information about this a number of times finally resulted in a demand for some $12,000, being sent to the business accountant. This sum stemmed back into the period audited. The accountant disputed this and requested that the IRD refer back to audit. The IRD reworked the account by taking later payments and crediting backwards making a shortfall start. To me this is most dishonest. I really wish I'd been bright enough to tape the conversations we had with IRD Debt Management Dept. The business is now expecting that the IRD will put it in liquidation. So I would advise everyone to never, never try to co-operate with the IRD. Let them bankrupt you — it is very much more prudent and less trying on families' nerves.

I have not identified the business — it belongs to my son. He is unwilling to stand up to the IRD yet. He has been cowed by vindictive officers. Sometimes turnover is insufficient to meet all expenses yet one goes on expecting business to pick up. When you have people depending on you for wages each week it is very hard to close the doors, even though your own income equals nil. You find yourself in an intolerable position. Please keep my identity to yourself at present.

22 October 1997

The Right Hon Mr James Bolger
Leader of National Party

Dear Mr Bolger

The State (IRD) Bankrupting its Citizens

Enclosed please find a copy of a letter I have forwarded to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue. [See below — Ed] I am bringing this to your attention as I will be very interested to see what response I get from each of the political parties. The government obviously endorses what IRD is doing otherwise they would instruct the Department to change its policies.

The letter is self explanatory, but briefly, I was bankrupted by IRD because they would not, or could not, give an explanation of a 1986 assessment for failing to file an IR5 return which I received nearly eight years after the event. Current tax payments I was making were misappropriated to cover that bogus 1986 account of $1,000 plus penalties and interest of $2,500.

IRD has a new policy of refusing to meet or discuss disputes or stuff-ups their department makes (and there are many). Their "get tough — don't talk" attitude makes it impossible to resolve disputes. One only has to look at newspaper articles which appear with regular monotony about complaints regarding IRD. It is far simpler to wind up small businesses and bankrupt citizens rather than enter into an arrangement with them to pay off their debt. The only person laughing is the Crown Law Office which is getting all this extra work.

I could easily have paid off my debt in the two year period they have stipulated arrears must be paid in, but they would not accept my terms. In the end I decided it was far better for me to let them bankrupt me and they will not get one cent from me. So the State loses out on this idiotic decision by an inept and mismanaged Department which takes the easy option. They must be losing millions of dollars by winding people up rather than getting at least something back from them. I am quite happy to pay my debt if the Department annuls my bankruptcy and comes to some arrangement with me, but it is bloody difficult to resolve a dispute when the principal party refuses point blank to sit down and negotiate with the aggrieved party, or to even discuss the main issue under dispute, as in my case.

I am not insolvent — far from it. I know that, my family and friends know it, and even IRD know it, but they also know if the relent on my case they will have to do the same with thousands of others. If they did, who knows, the State may end up with millions of dollars that the politicians did not even know about because a mismanaged government department chooses to wipe the slate clean just to get debtors off their books.

This pathetic style of management (or appropriately, mismanagement) reflects on the Minister and the Commissioner. I may very well have to also go on the dole as IRD has taken away my means of income, so I will be a further burden on the State. Something I have never done, but these jackbooted fascists that are now running our government departments are breaking the spirit of the ordinary New Zealanders like myself.

Bankruptcy does not bother me, but I know of many small business owners and citizens who have been devastated by IRD's actions. Just recently a self-employed builder from Kilbirnie, Wellington, who went through the same charade as myself with IRD, committed suicide by shooting himself in the head with a ramset gun because he could not stand the stigma associated with bankruptcy. Like myself he tried to reason with IRD because he was carrying huge debts from clients who had not paid him, but IRD were not interested in that. Their "get tough — don't talk — get him off our books" attitude killed this man. He left behind a loving wife and grown family.

It deeply concerns me that we are seeing more and more every day instances where the Government and Parliament are not running this country. It is being run by the jackbooted fascist bureaucrats in government departments who make ridiculous policies. I can make mention of such departments that I have had dealings with, namely, Land Transport, Health (I refer in particular to Mr Rau Williams who was sentenced to die by bureaucrats), Inland Revenue (the case of the builder I have already mentioned). How many more of our countrymen are going to be "murdered" by these power crazy fascists? I now challenge any one of the Opposition parties to ask of the Minister for IRD, the Hon Bill Birch, in the House, the following questions:

1) How many individuals and small businesses have IRD bankrupted over the past 18 months?

2) Does the Minister have any idea of how many of these people bankrupted by IRD have taken their own lives as a direct result of that bankruptcy? (This could be ascertained through media publicity that would get a response from spouses, friends, business partners, etc.) I thank you for your time and I am interested to see your response to my letter.

Copy: The Right Hon Mr Winston Peters, Leader of NZ First
The Hon Mr Bill Birch, Minister for Inland Revenue
The Hon Mrs Helen Clark, Leader of the Labour Party
The Hon Mr Jim Anderton, Leader of the Alliance Party
The Hon Mr Richard Prebble, Leader of ACT NZ
The Hon Mr Peter Dunne, Leader of United NZ

22 October 1997

The Commissioner
Inland Revenue Department

Dear Mr Holland

IRD Bankrupting New Zealand Citizens

I am writing as a citizen and taxpayer of this country. I was bankrupted on Monday 13th October by your Department. I wrote to you several times over the past year seeking your intervention in a dispute I was having with your department that had dragged on for over two years. But as expected, my letters to you were ignored, as have many others I have written to your Department seeking meetings and explanations.

I refer mainly to a 1986 assessment for $1,000 when it was alleged I failed to file an IR5 return, which I have disputed all along. I was notified of this anomaly nearly eight years after the event, by which time you had added another $2,500 in penalties in interest. My repeated verbal and written requests for an explanation were ignored. If you received a bogus invoice in the mail for an event or service allegedly supplied eight years earlier, you are either going to ignore it or request an explanation. I did both.

This incident is just one of many crazy decisions and mismanaged aspects of my file that I still shake my head at in disbelief. Current tax money that I paid in were misappropriated to pay the 1986 debt and thereby attracted penalties and interest on my current tax. Your Department's actions are a disgrace and reflects on you as the Head of the Department.

All my pride in my country went out the window the day your Department bankrupted me. A country that I served with pride and distinction through 10 years in the New Zealand Police. A country that I had uncles imprisoned in Crete and killed in Egypt defending our flag and our freedom and democracy only to see the jackbooted fascists they were defending us from are now running our government departments, and in particular the IRD. Their sacrifices were in vain.

I have outlined to you in previous correspondence the total incompetence of your Department's handling of my file, including:

1) The issuing of two IRD numbers to me and the time it took (8 months) to get this sorted out.

2) No sooner was the above sorted out when your incompetent staff changed my address on your computer. An address I had been at for over 12 years. It took another 8 months to sort that shambles out, in the meantime I had been assessed and penalised for unpaid GST and tax.

3) The "loss" of a cheque for $3,000 in April 1995, and a letter outlining my wish to pay my outstanding debt so long as your Department stopped adding penalties and interest. It is very suspicious how this cheque and letter were "lost" and I firmly believe it was done so deliberately to implement your Department's threats to bankrupt me.

4) The most recent disgraceful incident by your Department occurred at 2.30pm on Monday 7th July at the Crown Law Office of Luke, Cunningham and Clere, 105 The Terrace, Wellington. After two years of requests to meet with someone from your Department who had just an ounce of common-sense and half an ounce of compassion, (I was to learn there are no such people in your Department) this request was finally granted thanks to the intervention of my Member of Parliament, The Hon Richard Prebble. Mr Prebble wrote to your Minister, The Hon Bill Birch, outlining the difficulties I was having in dealing with your Department. I saw Mr Birch's reply to Mr Prebble and his letter was full of lies and deceit. I do not blame Mr Birch for the contents of his letter as he would only have been relaying what he was told by your staff who were trying to cover their butts.

My lawyers warned me at that point that I will probably regret bringing Mr Birch into the fray as the Department would make things even more difficult for me. How right they were. That meeting at the offices of Luke, Cunningham and Clere between one of my lawyers, myself, two of your staff and Mr Brian Cunningham turned out to be a total charade to show the Minister "we were being fair". My lawyer asked if it was possible to accept a second mortgage on my dwelling to which the IRD staff replied yes. I was asked to arrange a new valuation on the property, which I arranged immediately upon my leaving the meeting. The valuation cost me $300 and was completed two days after the meeting, the same day IRD advised my lawyer that they would not accept a second mortgage on the property. It was evident, upon reflection, that your staff and Cunningham had no interest whatsoever in making any arrangement with me to pay the debt, the majority of which was penalties and interest. Before leaving that meeting I asked, once again, for an explanation on 1986 tax and penalties which, I was assured, would be done. I am still waiting for that explanation. Your new policy of bankrupting our citizens stinks. It is just an easy option for an inept Government Department and further shows the total disarray your Department is in. This reflects entirely on yourself and your Minister.

I enclose newspaper cutting of just two recent news items endorsing my above comments.

In conclusion I call on you to resign your position as Commissioner of Inland Revenue before your incompetence destroys more Kiwi lives.

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