8 October 2019

The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) commends the Government for reconfirming its commitment to ease the Superannuation Guarantee (SG) penalty regime by reintroducing a Bill for a one-off amnesty for historical SG underpayments.

“With increased transparency around when employers make SG contributions on behalf of employees thanks to Single Touch Payroll (STP), it is an opportune time for employers to make good any outstanding SG liability without the full draconian penalty regime applying, which acts as a disincentive in coming forward,” said IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway.

“We fully support the extended amnesty as it gives employers who wish to be compliant the opportunity to make good past underpayments and we encourage all Parliamentary parties to support the measure.

“The Opposition previously did not support the amnesty on the basis that employers should not be rewarded for SG non-compliance.

“While any non-payment of this worker entitlement represents wage theft; a practice never to be condoned, 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.

“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. This amnesty gives them time to atone.

“At the end of the day money is been directed into employee’s superannuation accounts with some interest added and that’s a good thing.

“Employers that do not take advantage of the one-off amnesty will face significantly higher penalties if they are subsequently caught. In addition, throughout the amnesty period the ATO will continue its usual enforcement activity against employers.

“We are now urging all parties to support the amnesty and make it happen for employers to make the most of the situation,” said Mr Conway.