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Delinquent companies to be prosecuted

Larry Mussenden, the director of Public Prosecutions

Delinquent employers face prosecution over nearly $90 million in unpaid social insurance and payroll tax.

The announcement was made today in a joint statement by tax commissioner Lucia Peniston, Department of Social Insurance director Karen Daniels and Public Prosecutions director Larry Mussenden.

The trio have held a series of meetings to address the two matters, and Ms Peniston and Ms Daniels will now start forwarding employer files to Mr Mussenden for potential prosecution over delinquent payments.

There is an estimated $42.7 million in social insurance contributions that employers have not paid in, according to Ms Daniels.

“Social insurance contributions provide for an employee’s pension when they reach the age of 65,” she said.

“It is a serious breach of the law to not pay in the social insurance contributions deducted from the employee. It is equally serious for the employer to not pay his statutory obligation.”

Employees can call the Department of Social Insurance on 294-9242 to ensure their contributions are paid up.

Ms Peniston revealed that an estimated $47 million in payroll tax has not been paid in by employers.

Payroll tax is used by the Government to provide essential services such as the Police and Fire Service, maintaining roads and other infrastructure, housing, education, health and other social benefits.

“We are concerned about the behaviour of employers that seeks to undermine the payroll tax system,” she said.

“Offences include failing to register, file quarterly tax returns or maintain adequate payroll records, obstructing public officers in the execution of their duty and engaging in criminal tax evasion.”

Ms Daniels and Ms Peniston urged delinquent employers to contact their respective departments to ensure that their companies are compliant.

Mr Mussenden added: “I am concerned that employers have conducted themselves in this way, and that they have failed to fully respond to the civil court proceedings.

“We will review files from the departments and we will soon prosecute companies and individuals for any relevant offences.

“However, we do encourage employers to contact the relevant departments, make payment arrangements and make actual payments.”