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STP gives ATO ‘unprecedented visibility’ of super information

Single touch payroll is giving the Tax Office an unprecedented level of visibility of super information and the ability to effectively follow up in relative real time “apparent late or non-payment of SG”.

STP gives ATO ‘unprecedented visibility’ of super information
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  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • October 17, 2019
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ATO deputy commissioner James O’Halloran said the Tax Office is now heavily focused on reducing the incidence of non-payment of super guarantee (SG) in the community.

Speaking to the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) Chairs Forum, Mr O’Halloran said that the ATO now has an unprecedented level of ‘visibility’ of super information at the account and transaction level and “we’re increasingly using this capability”.

“We have recently completed an examination of SG contributions of some 75 million payment transactions for quarters one, two and three of 2018-19 for some 400,000 employers,” he revealed.

“We’re currently examining the payment transactions and patterns for quarter four of 2018-19. As you would know, this was only an aspiration few years ago.”

Mr O’Halloran explained that from this data the ATO can already see between 90 per cent and 92 per cent of contribution transactions by volume were paid on time and that between 85 per cent and 90 per cent of the transactions by dollar value were paid on time.

“We’re now starting to actively use the data to warn employers who appear not to be paying the required SG on time, in full or at all, that they should change their behaviour,” he cautioned.

The ATO is attributing this increased visibility to the introduction of single touch payroll reporting arrangements.

“It’s a tangible action which demonstrates our increasing ability to effectively follow up in relative real time apparent late or non-payment of SG,” Mr O’Halloran said.

This week, the Tax Office is planning to contact 2,500 employers who it has identified as having paid some or all of their SG contributions late during 2018-19, and will be sending due-date reminders to a further 4,000 employers.

SG amnesty

In September, the government introduced Treasury Laws Amendment (Recovering Unpaid Superannuation) Bill 2019 into Parliament, after the previous bill that had sought to introduce SG amnesty lapsed.

It provides a one-off amnesty to encourage employers to self-correct historical SG non-compliance dating from 1 July 1992 to the quarter starting on 1 January 2018.

Should the bill pass without amendments, the amnesty period will end six months from the date it receives royal assent.

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