‘Wipe the slate clean’: Clients, accountants urged to use new amnesty period
Businesses look set to be granted a 12-month window to address historic under-payment of superannuation, against a backdrop of ongoing warning shots being fired by the government and regulators.
The federal government’s proposed one‑off, 12-month amnesty for historical underpayment of superannuation guarantee (SG) obligations is currently before the Senate, after passing through the lower house.
Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) chief executive, Andrew Conway, sees this as an opportunity for businesses and clients alike to “wipe the slate clean.”
“Any non-payment of this worker entitlement represents wage theft; a practice never to be condoned,” Mr Conway said in a statement earlier this week.
“However, we acknowledge that small businesses can sometimes experience cash flow issues, making them vulnerable when it comes to meeting their SG obligations by the required due date,” he said.
“The IPA supports this amnesty period as it incentivises employers to come forward and do the right thing by their employees by paying any unpaid superannuation in full,” he said.
Non-payment of SG obligations has been a highly-publicised focus of the federal government’s broader package of integrity measures aimed at ensuring on-time payment and regular reporting by super funds.
As part of the measures, the ATO will also have the power to apply for court-ordered penalties which include up to 12 months’ imprisonment.
Single Touch Payroll (STP) will be central to ATO surveillance, and this plus other incoming reporting laws give the ATO access to current information about the amounts of superannuation that employers owe their employees.
This follows warning shots fired in 2017, when the ATO said it was looking to up its SG casework by one-third.
By: Katarina Taurian
26 JUNE 2018