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Cyprus

Over 1,000 apply to pay social insurance in instalments

Over 1,000 applications for payment of unpaid social contributions by employers and self-employed individuals in instalments have been received since August 1, when the scheme was introduced, the social insurance department said on Thursday.

Citing unnamed sources from the department, the Cyprus News Agency reported that the number of applications received over the first 10 days of the programme were 1,050, as “people showed significant interest and the flow of applications is continuous”.

However, it is not yet known how many of these were filed by employers or self-employed, as this would be established once applications start being processed in September.

At this stage of the process, applications are only being received, the department said.

Although the deadline for submitting applications is the end of November, processing will start in September and continue on a monthly basis.

The scheme covers non-payment of dues to the social insurance department, including the Social Insurance Fund, the Central Holiday Fund, the Redundancy Fund, the Social Cohesion Fund, and the Human Resource Development Fund.

Around 39,000 self-employed persons and businesses owe these funds a total of €290 million, prompting a government bill allowing for payment in up to 54 instalments to be passed unanimously by parliament in June.

According to the law’s provisions, debtors belong to one or more of three broad categories: those who owe the last few months’ worth of contributions, against whom no criminal charges have been filed yet; those who have had criminal charges filed, but their trial has not yet been concluded; and those who have been convicted in court.

The law stipulates that employers or self-employed individuals may pay their late dues, up to and including those of July 2016, in a maximum of 54 equal instalments at a percentage penalty.

Should applicants opt to repay their dues earlier than the 54 instalments allowed, they stand to benefit from a commensurate reduction to the added penalty fee that could run up to 27 per cent.

In case the dues are paid in a single instalment, applicants will be forgiven the penalty fee.

The Social Insurance Services will receive applications by November 30, 2016.

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