No one likes paying fines. As many of us are aware who have received a fine (or a few), these fines are debts that may begin as any of the following:
- an unpaid infringement notice or fine (e.g. speeding ticket);
- a court-ordered penalty;
- an offender levy; or
- an offender debt recovery notice.
After incurring a fine, it is usual to then receive a notice which outlines the amount owing, details of how payment should be made, and any other relevant information regarding the owed amount. The fine should also notify you of the timeframe you have to repay that amount (for instance, 28 days). It is unsurprising that a commonly searched question is “What happens if I don’t pay my fine QLD?”
Unpaid fines are referred to SPER Queensland
If you do not or fail to pay the fine within the stipulated time period provided (e.g. 28 days), the agency that issued the fine (for instance, the Department of Transport and Main Roads) may automatically refer your unpaid fine and/or penalty to the State Penalties and Enforcement Agency (SPER) for collection and enforcement.
If this occurs, it should be noted that additional fees may be incurred. If your enforcement order is for an infringement notice, it will normally include a registration fee of $75.60. You may also be required to pay an enforcement fee of $126.7 if enforcement action is required to be taken.
What does SPER stand for?
SPER stands for the State Penalties Enforcement Registry and is a division of the Office of State Revenue within Queensland Treasury and Trade, which is responsible for collecting certain monies that are owed to the State of Queensland or other local authorities.
How does SPER contact?
SPER will normally issue an enforcement order for the amount owing, which states a due date by which you must pay your debt or alternatively take other necessary action. SPER may use various means to inform you and update you on the status of your SPER debt, such as phone calls, emails, text messages, or through post.
SPER debt waiver
SPER is prohibited from waiving a fine issued by another agency or an order issued by a Court. SPER simply acts as a collection and enforcement entity.. However, if you believe that a valid dispute may arise, we strongly suggest that you obtain legal advice on whether you have grounds to dispute the debt and your options.
How do I pay SPER?
SPER payments may be paid in a lump sum or via a payment plan (if you are eligible). Payment can be made to SPER through the following avenues:
- using the online portal;
- using BPAY;
- Over the phone;
- In person at any Australia Post (f your notice has an Australia Post Billpay barcode), or at any Magistrates Court or Queensland Government Agent Program (QGAP) office; or
- In the post (attaching a cheque or money owed).
Further information regarding your options for paying SPER enforcement orders may be found at the following webpage: https://www.qld.gov.au/law/fines-and-penalties/overdue-fines/payment-options.
What happens if I do not pay SPER fines?
If you fail to pay your SPER fines, SPER may take the following enforcement action (which may also add further fees to the debt owing which can also be recoverable from you) in an attempt to recover the debt owing:
- your driver’s license may be suspended;
- certain amounts may be deducted from your wage each month by your employer;
- an order may be given to your bank deducting certain amounts from your account to SPER;
- interest may be registered over your property;
- your vehicle may be immobilized; and/or
- the seizure and sale of your property may be undertaken.
In particular circumstances, help may be available if you are considered to be experiencing hardship (such as being homeless, having been significantly affected by COVID-19, or if you have a disability). You may also be eligible to pay off your debt by completing a work and development order with the support of one of SPER’s approved hardship partners. Further information regarding eligibility can be found here: https://www.qld.gov.au/law/fines-and-penalties/overdue-fines/enforcement-order.
If you require any assistance in understanding your rights, responsibilities, and obligations when contacted by SPER or if you believe you may have a disputed debt, please do not hesitate to contact us for legal advice and assistance.
The blog published by Rostron Carlyle Rojas Lawyers is intended as general information only and is not legal advice on any subject matter. By viewing the blog posts, the reader understands there is no solicitor-client relationship between the reader and the author. The blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a legal practitioner, and readers are urged to consult RCR on any legal queries concerning a specific situation.