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Over 20,000 businesses take advantage of SG amnesty and avoid penalties

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
23 September 2020 1 minute readShare
Jane Hume

Around 24,000 employers have come forward and disclosed their super underpayments under the government’s superannuation guarantee (SG) amnesty program.

Around 393,000 Aussies will see a combined $588 million paid into their super funds or, where they are no longer working, to their bank accounts, under the government’s superannuation guarantee amnesty, current ATO statistics have revealed.

In May 2018, then treasurer and now Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the SG amnesty initiative as a one-off opportunity for employers to disclose and pay previously unpaid SG charges, plus 10 per cent interest, without penalties. The amnesty covered the period dating back to the introduction of compulsory superannuation in July 1992, with employers participating asked to apply by 7 September 2020 to qualify. 

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According to data from the Tax Office, under the program, 24,000 employers have admitted to underpaying their staff just under $600 million in super. Of this, around 17,000 businesses lodged their application for the amnesty in the last week before deadline, while 7,000 were received on the last day, 7 September.

Commenting on the program, Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology Jane Hume called it a success.

 

“The superannuation amnesty was a one-off opportunity for employers to disclose and pay previously unpaid superannuation guarantee charges. It was about reuniting Australians with money that is rightfully theirs, making sure every dollar that is owed to workers goes back to them,” Ms Hume said.

While the ATO continues to process those disclosures made in the last weeks of the amnesty period, interim results have been very encouraging, with around $440 million already transferred to super funds, including $132 million in interest payments.

A further $33 million is subject to agreed payment plans, to help businesses doing it tough take advantage of the one-off opportunity to make good and wipe the slate clean.

Once the super amnesty guarantee payments have been processed, the ATO is due to shift its focus to identifying those employers who haven’t paid or failed to set up a payment plan, despite numerous requests and opportunities.   

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Ms Hume’s office cautioned that, as foreshadowed when the amnesty was introduced, penalties for non-payment or underpayment of superannuation are now severe.

The introduction of Single Touch Payroll gives the ATO far greater visibility to businesses that continue to do the wrong thing by their workers.    

“We know that in the past, calculating the super guarantee has been very complicated. The superannuation amnesty prompted honest businesses to take a look back through their records and check they’d done the right thing by their employees,” Ms Hume said. 

“The superannuation amnesty has been a very successful initiative, reuniting Australians with money that, in many cases, they didn’t even know they were owed.”

For more information on what to do if you missed the deadline, click here.

Over 20,000 businesses take advantage of SG amnesty and avoid penalties
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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of My Business. 

Maja has a decade-long career in journalism across finance, business and politics. Now a well-versed reporter in the SME and accounting arena, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies and enabling citizens to influence decision-making.

You can email Maja on [email protected] 

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