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ATO to curb late SG payments with proactive ‘nudging’

The ATO is moving towards proactively ‘nudging’ employers to pay their superannuation guarantee.

  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • August 23, 2019
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The Tax Office is seeing an unprecedented level of visibility of super information as a result of the recent implementation of single touch payroll (STP) and new reporting obligations for APRA-regulated funds, said James O'Halloran, deputy commissioner for superannuation at the ATO.

He revealed that the ATO has recently piloted a ‘nudging’ approach with a small sample of 85 employers who it contacted regarding their late payment of super guarantee (SG).

The Tax Office now intends to expand this approach to those employers who haven't paid SG to their employees within 30 days after the end of the reporting quarter.

“As we gain increased assurance in the data and the conclusions we can draw from it, we'll use it to move sensibly into proactive ‘nudges’ and warnings to clients; for example, directly notifying or nudging employers we've identified as not having paid SG to their employees per quarter as required,” Mr O'Halloran explained.

With STP now law for businesses of all sizes, the ATO can detect where an employer may not be correctly calculating their employees' SG, allowing them to intervene and assist before the amount is even due for payment.

Mr O'Halloran clarified that such approaches are expected to have flow-on benefits and reduce employer notifications to the ATO.

“Coupled with other initiatives, we'll be able to bring both active oversight and effective intervention to enforce SG payment and protect employees,” Mr O'Halloran said.

“While the immediate benefit to individuals who are being underpaid their super entitlements is apparent, this visibility and our ability to proactively engage with employers who don’t meet their obligations means we can also better ensure a level playing field for business, particularly small business.”

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