|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||Contact: Liz Brocker, Public Information Officer, Office of Attorney General, 701.328.2213|
|Thursday, May 19, 2011||Beth Boustead, Public Information Officer, Office of State Tax Commissioner, 701.328.3039|
|Peggy Anderson, Communications Division Director, Department of Transportation, 701.328.4322|
State Agencies Establish Contractor Compliance Team
BISMARCK, N.D. – Job Service North Dakota, the Office of Attorney General, Secretary of State's Office, the Office of State Tax Commissioner, Workforce Safety and Insurance (WSI), the Department of Transportation and the North Dakota Highway Patrol today announced the establishment of an inter-agency Contractor Compliance Team. The inter-agency team is in response to the rapid rise in major projects, many of them construction-related, due to the infrastructure build-out in parts of the state where the oil boom is having a significant impact.
"The purpose of the team is to make sure that contractors are in compliance with the state's laws," said Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. "The team's focus is to ensure that contractors have the proper licensing, workers' compensation insurance coverage and are paying the taxes that are owed."
Compliance staff from Job Service North Dakota, the Office of Attorney General, Secretary of State's Office, the Office of State Tax Commissioner, and the Department of Transportation, Highway Patrol, and WSI will be conducting random compliance checks at various construction sites throughout the region over the course of the next several weeks.
"The majority of contractors are operating in compliance with North Dakota's laws," said Tax Commissioner Cory Fong. "There are a number of new contractors, including many out-of-state contractors coming into North Dakota, who may not be aware of North Dakota's laws or their responsibility for paying the appropriate taxes."
Out-of-state individuals, businesses and contractors who are providing services need transient merchant licenses from the Attorney General's office, and must be registered with the Secretary of State's office.
"The purpose of this inter-agency team is to educate contractors about their responsibilities," said Ken Callahan, Williston Area Builders Association, "to promote fairness, ensure consumer and worker protection, and to minimize state and local revenue loss.
In addition, they need to follow vehicle licensing requirements and weight restrictions, provide workers' compensation and unemployment insurance coverage, withhold individual income taxes, and report and pay applicable sales and use tax on materials while conducting business in North Dakota.
"This team provides new companies and their employees the information they need to operate vehicles within the laws of North Dakota," said Linda Butts, North Dakota Department of Transportation Deputy Director for Driver and Vehicle Services.
Failure to obtain the proper certificates and licenses could compromise North Dakota workers that contractors may hire. It may constitute a criminal offense that is punishable by fines, imprisonment, or both. In addition, the inter-agency team hopes to help unsuspecting consumers who hire unlicensed contractors avoid any possible liability for damages or injuries that occur on their property.
Secretary of State Al Jaeger said, "Consumers are encouraged to check with any potential contractor for proof of proper business registration and contractor licensing before entering into any agreement for work on their home or business."
Local leaders and a number of professional and industry organizations, such as the North Dakota Homebuilders Association, Williston Area Builders Association, and the North Dakota Association of General Contractors, are supporting and assisting in this compliance effort.
Williston Mayor Ward Koeser said, "This effort is about making sure all of the businesses in our community are operating on a level playing field and in a safe environment."
Other local leaders, and state agency and industry representatives were present for the news conference.
For more information, contact the Job Service North Dakota at 800.247.0981; the Attorney General's office at 701.328.3404; Department of Transportation at 701.328.2500; State Highway Patrol at 701.328.2455; Secretary of State's office at 800.352.0667; Tax Commissioner's office at 877.328.7088; or WSI at 800.777.5033.
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