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West Virginia: Workers' Comp Debts Total More Than $800,000

West Virginia companies seeking reinstatement of their business licenses have paid the state Workers' Compensation Commission more than $841,952 since December to reconcile old debts, according to the agency.

The state Department of Tax and Revenue, working with the commission, revoked the licenses of nearly 400 companies in December 2004. A second cycle of revocations involving more than 250 defaulted companies occurred in early April.

Each of the defaulted companies has received at least four notices over a period of several months before the commission provided their names to the tax department for action on their business licenses, according to the commission. Although some accounts have small balances owed, and in some cases have a zero balance or credit, they have not filed all required payroll reports and thereby are in default and not compliant with workers' compensation law.

As a result of the license revocations in December, 124 businesses revoked have returned to compliance, representing $514,715.32 in previously defaulted assessments, the commission says. Thirty-three employers who lost their licenses in April have met compliance, representing $327,237.15 in collected assessments. These companies have filed missing reports and either paid their premium balances, including interest and penalties, or set up repayment agreements.

The remaining companies continue to be listed on the commission's Employer Violator System.

Under the Employer Violator System, any individual who owns, controls or has an interest of 10 percent or more in a company will be prevented from obtaining state licenses, certificates or permits until the debt is resolved. Any company that continues to operate despite the business license revocation may be subject to additional criminal and civil penalties.

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