JIS News

Employers have until today (Jan.13) to file their annual National Insurance Scheme (NIS) returns or face legal action.
Denzil Thorpe, NIS Director, told JIS News that the annual returns were usually filed on January 14 of each year but because this year, the 14th fell on a Saturday, the returns become effective on January 13.
He said that failure by the employer to meet the deadline could result in court action against the employer. “It is not only a legal or business issue, it is also a moral issue because effectively, this is the document that tells us who the contributions have been paid for and how much is being paid for the individual,” he said.
He added that, “when that person (employee) comes to retirement, unless the documents have been submitted, even if the funds have been paid over, we are unable to allocate the funds to the individual and therefore unable to calculate the benefit and so we feel very strongly that we are not going to allow employers to take this as a frivolous issue”, he said.
Explaining the process for filing NIS returns, Mr. Thorpe said employers should take into any NIS office in their parish, an annual return form, which listed the names and the NIS numbers for all the employees in the organization for whom NIS contributions were being paid, and the employees Tax Registration Number (TRN).
It should also state, the wages that the NIS contributions are based on; the number of weeks for which the contributions are being paid; and the specific amount relating to each individual.
Also to be submitted is a summary sheet that gives the total amount of NIS contributions being paid and the total number of employees for which it is being paid. This is in addition to the form the employers have been taking to the Income Tax Department throughout the year, as well as that which has been signed off on by the Inland Revenue, to indicate that actual payments have been made.
If the relevant documents are not filed by January 13, the NIS inspectors will serve a notice to the employer that these returns are past due. Once these notices are served, the employers will receive a demand notice, which will state that they have 14 days to submit the returns. Failure to comply will then result in court action.
If convicted, the employee could face a fine not exceeding $1,000 and a further $500 per day fine until the returns are filed. They could also be imprisoned for up to six months.
Mr. Thorpe said that employees could assist the process by checking with the NIS office as well as their employers, for their annual Certificate of Contribution, to verify that the NIS contributions have been deducted. “They (the employees) can also ask to see that document that the employer takes to the tax office each month to ensure that the payments have been made,” he suggested.
Also, employees can ask to check the deduction cards, which detail all the deductions for the individual employee throughout the year, so as to ensure that the contributions were being made.
As it regards encouraging employers to file their returns, Mr. Thorpe pointed out that, “as far as the employer is concerned, it is not just a matter of business or a legal issue but what we encourage our employers to think of is the fact that when these same persons, who are working for them now, come the time of their retirement, they will not be able to gain any benefit from the NIS if these annual returns are not submitted in a timely manner”.
The long-term benefit for persons, who pay their NIS, is a retirement pension, which is paid for the remainder of the person’s life. There are also short-term benefits, which are accrued if the person, who is employed, gets injured on the job, in that, they will be eligible for an employment injury benefit including the payment of doctors’ fees and medical expenses.
Also, if the injury leads to a permanent disability and they are unable to work, then the NIS will provide them with a benefit for the remainder of their life.
In the event of death, there are two types of benefits – a funeral grant and a special employment death benefit, which will be paid to the employee’s estate.
For those persons, who are positive that their contributions are not being paid over, Mr. Thorpe advised that they contact the NIS office for an investigation to be conducted.
“Another thing is that our inspectors generally go out to the companies to check the records to ensure the contributions are being paid over to the Inland Revenue Department and also to ensure that the employers are filing the necessary documents to verify, which employee this is being paid for.
“So, for example they will check the employers wage book to verify that they are paying contributions for all the employees they should be paying for,” he explained.

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