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IPA backs government's 'off again, on again' super amnesty extension

The Institute of Public Accountants supports the government’s resolve to establish a one-off amnesty for historical underpayment of the superannuation guarantee.

  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • October 09, 2019
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The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) has commended 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 Andrew Conway.

The IPA explained that the extended amnesty gives employers who wish to be compliant the opportunity to make good past underpayments and encouraged 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,” said Mr Conway.

“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.”

He acknowledged 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. According to Mr Conway, this amnesty gives them time to atone.

“At the end of the day, money is been directed into employees’ superannuation accounts with some interest added and that’s a good thing,” said Mr Conway.

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

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.

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