Superannuation Fact Sheet

By Tyler J. Wise|March 22nd, 2018|Blog|

The ATO has released a fact sheet explaining compliance and penalties employer superannuation contribution obligations.

The ATO compliance and penalties approach applies to employers who are not meeting their superannuation guarantee obligations, including non-payment, underpayment, or late payment of superannuation guarantee contributions to an eligible employee.

In deciding what action to take, the ATO said that it applies a differentiated approach to consider the individual circumstances of an employer and their history of engagement with the ATO. This includes assessing:
* employers who actively engage with the ATO
* employers experiencing difficulty meeting their obligations, and
* employers who are able but unwilling to meet their obligations.

Employers who actively engage with the ATO are those who maintain regular contact, provide all information requested and take any required corrective action the ATO requests. The ATO is unlikely to impose additional penalties for employers who engage with the ATO and have a compliance history that demonstrates that they have been generally compliant with their superannuation obligations.

Employers who are experiencing difficulty meeting their super obligations are encouraged to contact the ATO as soon as possible if they need assistance to lodge a superannuation guarantee charge (SGC) statement or to discuss payment of the SGC. The Commissioner has discretion to consider partial or full remission of a penalty, to ensure that employers are treated appropriately. Remission will be considered based on the circumstances of the case, the degree that an employer has attempted to comply and the employer’s compliance history. 

Employers who are able but unwilling to meet their obligations are breaking the law. The ATO will take firm compliance action if an employer fails to engage with the ATO by not replying promptly to its correspondence or not actively taking steps to resolve an SG discrepancy. This includes employers who:
* repeatedly fail to pay the correct amount of SG
* attempt to obstruct the ATO’s ability to determine an SGC liability
* repeatedly fail to keep appointments
* repeatedly fail to supply information without an acceptable reason
* deliberately supply information that is irrelevant, inadequate or misleading
* engage in any culpable behaviour to delay the provision of information.

The ATO considers the compliance history of an employer to determine the action it will take and penalties to be applied. Action may include:
* collecting amounts owed directly from their bank or other third parties that owe them money
* collecting amounts owed directly from company directors, or
* action that may result in bankruptcy or liquidation.


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