The Federal Government has recently announced the introduction of new legislation, targeted at incentivising employers to come forward and attend to unpaid superannuation obligations.
The Government has introduced a 12-month amnesty period, allowing employers to come forward and attend to any historical superannuation guarantee (SG) entitlements outstanding, without the usual penalties and charges. This one-off scheme is designed to encourage employers to attend to their SG requirements in a timely manner. To access the amnesty, outstanding SG entitlements must be paid by employers in full, including all accrued nominal interest.
Mali De Castro
The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer says the new amnesty legislation will complement the sweeping SG integrity package which is currently before parliament. “We are introducing this one-off amnesty to allow employers to wipe the slate clean and pay their workers what they’re owed. All Australians workers should be paid the entitlements they are owed.”
Employers who do not take advantage of this one-off amnesty period will be doubly affected. These employers are forfeiting the opportunity to attend to SG entitlements in arrears without penalty. Additionally, they will also face further fees and charges when caught – generally, the minimum penalty is 50% on top of existing outstanding SG entitlements owed, says Mrs O’Dwyer. Those who do not exercise the amnesty opportunity will continue to be pursued by the ATO’s enforcement team for outstanding obligations throughout the amnesty period.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) estimate that approximately $2.85 billion in SG payments went unpaid in 2014-2015. “While this represents a 95 per cent compliance rate, any level of non-compliance is unacceptable, which is why the Turnbull Government is giving the ATO the tools it needs to enforce compliance going forward,” Mrs O’Dwyer said. “The amnesty will make it easier to secure outstanding employee entitlements, by setting aside the penalties for late payment that are normally paid to the Government”.
The amnesty will run for 12 months and began on 24 May 2018.
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