Numbers of businesses that haven’t been paying their superannuation contributions have now registered with the National Super Fund.
The Cook Islands National Superannuation Fund has registered 450 new businesses with approximately another 100 waiting to be uploaded into their system.
These are businesses whose owners hope to take advantage of the government’s economic response package, including the wage subsidy and grants.
But Fund chief executive officer Damien Beddoes said “some of the businesses that have registered do have employees and are required by law to contribute to the fund.”
The Fund can take legal action against any such business operating in the Cook Islands.
However no actions will be taken against these newly registered businesses. Beddoes said Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown had asked them “not to look backwards”.
He said these businesses must now continue to submit monthly declarations and payments to the Fund. “The second that those employers that have now registered that do not follow the rules will face consequences,” Beddoes warned.
Many of the newly-registered businesses are sole traders, who are over the age of 55, and do not have any employees.
Beddoes said others include market vendors and rental property owners.
They have registered with Cook Islands National Superannuation Fund to be able to apply for the business grant, he said.
“While some of the businesses have been violating the law by not registering, some are not. Going forward those sole traders that have also now registered with RMD (Revenue Management Division) will be required to file returns, and therefore will be required to make contributions to their Fund account.”
Beddoes said they will continue to pursue those businesses that have been making deductions from employees’ pay without passing on their employees’ money to the Super Fund, in a bid to recover the money that belongs to those employees.