ATO and unpaid super

1 min 10 secs read

A report from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has found that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has failed to collect billions in unpaid super from non-compliant employers.

The Superannuation Guarantee (SG) is a fundamental means of funding the retirement income goals of Australians. The great majority of employers have complied with their SG obligations—a very encouraging 95%. However, there are some that have failed to meet their SG obligations due to inadequate systems or processes, or lack of awareness.

In the long term, this kind of non-compliance can have a negative impact on retirement outcomes, especially for those on low incomes. The expectation is that the ATO will be proactive in recouping unpaid SG and imposing penalties where appropriate.

While the ATO has a number of measures in place, the report revealed “a shift from resource-intensive audit activity to low-touch nudges.” The resulting numbers are revealing… less than 15% of unpaid super has been collected annually. What’s more, the ATO can impose a tax called the Superannuation Guarantee Charge on employers that failed to pay super. The report found that the ATO was owed $2.9 billion in such tax as at 30 June 2021.

The report made three recommendations: implementing a preventative compliance strategy, use of enforcement and debt-recovery powers, and enhanced performance reporting. It stated that the ATO agreed to two recommendations, and agreed with qualification to the third.

How does this impact you? Generally, employers pay SG contributions every quarter. It’s worth checking your super account to see that these payments are coming in regularly. If you have any questions, you can raise it with your Payroll/HR team, with us, or the ATO.

Find out more about the ANAO’s findings and recommendations, and the ATO’s response



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