Distribution of arrears to ZUS in installments
Arrears in repayment of liabilities - be it tax or ZUS - can keep many entrepreneurs awake at night. Especially if the payer does not have the prospect of repaying such a debt on a one-off basis. Fortunately, a way out of this situation has also been provided - at the request of the payer, ZUS may divide into installments the receivables arising from overdue contributions.
What arrears can be paid in installments?
As a rule, the possibility of spreading overdue amounts into installments applies to those arising from non-payment of social security contributions, the Labor Fund, the Guaranteed Employee Benefits Fund and the Bridging Pensions Fund, along with interest for late payment and possible additional fees or costs of reminder.
However, it is worth emphasizing that the above rule applies to contributions that the payer pays on his own behalf. On the other hand, in the case of contributions for retirement insurance for employees who are employed under an employment contract or another (e.g. contractor), debt repayment in installments is not allowed.
Importantly, any person responsible for the debt can apply for payment of arrears to ZUS into installments. In practice, this means that, in addition to the payers or former payers, they can also be spouses who are responsible for the spouse's debts due to the community property and other persons to whom such responsibility has been transferred by means of an appropriate decision - e.g. a legal successor.
The procedure for applying for installment repayment
The first step that a ZUS debtor must take. is to submit an application for payment of the debt into installments. In such a document it is necessary to include a detailed justification explaining the request for payment in installments. It is extremely important because even completing all formalities does not guarantee the debtor will be granted a relief - it depends on the decision of the Social Insurance Institution. In practice, payment in installments is granted when a one-off payment of receivables would threaten the appropriate level of existence of a payer who no longer has business activity, or when it would become a threat to the still operating enterprise.
In addition to the justification in his application, the applicant for installment repayment should specify its proposed period or the amount of the fixed installment. In addition, the application should be supplemented with documentation confirming the legitimacy of granting the relief, as well as presenting the financial condition and payment capabilities of the company or the payer himself.
In addition to submitting the necessary documentation, the insured person applying for the relief should also pay - if he is obliged to do so - the outstanding amounts relating to the aforementioned fees for persons other than himself, who are not payers of own insurance contributions. Similarly - before issuing a decision by ZUS, the payer must pay the amounts due for enforcement costs arising in a situation where the debt has already been subject to enforcement.
Moreover, in a situation where the debtor has applied for or received aid in the scope of his business activity - e.g. de minimis - along with documentation, it should also show what amount of de minimis aid he received in the previous 2 tax years or what other aid he received or received a negative answer to the request for such aid. This necessity results from the fact that enabling the payer to spread the debt into installments also constitutes - as a rule - one of the types of state aid.
If it happens that the debtor submits the necessary documents to the office, but does not settle the above-mentioned arrears within 14 days, the application will not be considered. The same will happen if the documentation, including that relating to the aid obtained so far, turns out to be incomplete.
The application supplemented with the necessary documentation is submitted by the payer to the ZUS field unit competent for the seat of the company or the place of residence of the debtor. The application may be submitted in person, by post or by e-mail - in the latter case, the official website of the Social Insurance Institution is available.
Importantly, the submission of the application itself does not automatically spread the arrears into installments or suspend the charging of penalty interest.
What the debtor must and what - can
When - after completing the necessary formalities - the payer manages to obtain permission to pay the arrears owed to ZUS in installments, it will be necessary to strictly follow the recommendations of the office. Each breach may result in the termination of the installment agreement and the requirement of immediate payment of the resulting receivables.
First of all - which seems quite obvious - installments must be paid on time and in the agreed amount. If the fee is lower than required or late, the funds deposited will be used to settle the oldest arrears. In such a situation, in later installments there may be arrears, on which the plant will start charging penalty interest. In addition, it is very important to assign appropriate markings to transfers or transfers, with the help of which the payer makes settlements with ZUS. If, due to an incorrectly assigned title, the amount transferred is not settled as part of the installment, the aforementioned immediate termination of the installment contract may occur.
It is very important that the installment contract is also influenced by the current premiums. This means that if the required amount does not appear on the ZUS account within 14 days from the date of payment, the consequence will be not only penalty interest, but also termination of the installment agreement. As in the case of installments, also in the case of current contributions, the payer should also remember to properly complete the data on the payment receipt.
Responsibilities are one side of the coin, but it should not be forgotten that the installment agreement with ZUS also gives the debtor certain rights.
The basic ones are, of course, the possibility of paying off the debt in installments. Thanks to the agreement concluded with the plant, the enforcement proceedings initiated so far are suspended.
In addition, if it turns out that the taxpayer is unable to meet the provisions of the contract, he is entitled to apply for a change to the provisions contained therein. Such modifications may include extending the period of repayment of arrears, changing payment dates or the amount of installments.
To sum up - although debt is certainly not the desired effect of running a business, it does not have to be something that will have a destructive effect on the company or the taxpayer's situation. With appropriate argumentation and a bit of diligence when collecting and submitting documents, it can be expected that ZUS will comply with the payer's application and allow the debt to be repaid in installments.