The Government has introduced legislation to complement the Superannuation Guarantee integrity package already before Parliament by introducing a one‑off, twelve month amnesty for historical underpayment of SG.
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has shown support for the amnesty bill.
“Yesterday I outlined my support of the 12 month Superannuation Guarantee Amnesty in this Bill, so the very few small businesses across Australia that are not up-to-date with their superannuation obligations for current and past employees are able to get their affairs in order,” Ombudsman Kate Carnell said.
During the hearing, Carnell requested:
- the amnesty commence from the date it is passed into legislation, to maximise the preparation time for small businesses
- the conditions of no penalties and payments being tax deductible extend for the life of a payment plan
- the amnesty be prominently and repeatedly promoted to create awareness of this exclusive opportunity.
“Small businesses will need time to work with their accountant, audit and identify missed payments, and calculate the capacity to pay within their projected cash flow. Allowing preparation time while the legislation is considered will maximise the number of businesses willing, and ready, to take advantage of the amnesty,” Carnell said.
“Small businesses may not have the financial capacity to make catch-up payments in one lump sum and still meet ongoing obligations. If they enter into a payment plan, payments made during the duration of the plan must attract the same conditions.
“Moving forward, I would like to see a superannuation system for small business that is less complicated and easier to comply with. This would ensure unpaid superannuation to employees is an issue of the past.”
IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway supports this initiative.
“It should be noted that employers will not be entirely off the hook – to use the amnesty they must pay all that is owing to their employees, including the high rate of nominal interest. However, the amnesty will make it easier to secure outstanding employee entitlements, by setting aside the penalties for late payment.
“Employers that do not take advantage of the one-off amnesty will face significantly higher penalties if they are subsequently caught (a minimum 50 per cent on top of the SG Charge they owe). In addition, throughout the amnesty period the ATO will still continue its usual enforcement activity against employers.”