Figures were released to Opposition Senator Toni Daniels, right, after she tabled questions for junior Finance Minister David Burt, left. *Photos by Kageaki Smith
Figures were released to Opposition Senator Toni Daniels, right, after she tabled questions for junior Finance Minister David Burt, left. *Photos by Kageaki Smith

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 29: More than $27 million was owed to Government in social insurance as of November last year, a Senator told the Upper House today.

More than 2,670 firms were 60 days or more behind with social insurance payments at November 30, 2011.

The figures were released to Opposition Senator Toni Daniels after she tabled questions for junior Finance Minister David Burt.

Sen. Burt also revealed that 281 firms had failed to file a payroll tax return for at least one quarter from January 1 to September 30 last year.

Sen. Daniels further asked if any firm in arrears on social insurance or payroll tax had been awarded government contracts between the same dates.

Sen. Burt, in a written answer, said that some companies that had defaulted on payments had been given business by Government.

But he added that only companies in arrears that met qualifying factors would be considered for Government work.

These include having agreed a repayment plan, has already paid taxes in full or additional payments, obtained through offsetting part of the contract price or other means are made against the outstanding balance.

Sen. Burt added: “The matter of pension contributions and taxes is a serious concern of the Government.”

He said the establishment of a debt enforcement unit underlined Government’s commitment to recovering outstanding cash.

Sen. Burt added: “The Government will continue to take an aggressive stance in recouping tax and pension arrears in order to establish the settlement of Government debt as a priorities.

“Finally, to assist tax payers in these difficult times, the Government has developed a pilot programme that will allow businesses that are in arrears with respect to payroll tax, but who are maintaining installment payment plans, to reduce their debt to Government by offering services of like values.”