Industry Super Australia (ISA) has again raised the proposition of unions or superannuation funds being empowered by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to act as agents against recalcitrant employers to recoup unpaid superannuation guarantee (SG) payments.
In a submission filed with the Senate Economics Legislation Committee review of the Government’s legislation delivering an amnesty to employers on unpaid SG obligations, ISA suggested that, to date, the ATO had been less than effective in dealing with unpaid superannuation and suggested greater Government oversight of the ATO’s approach.
“The ATO Annual Report 2017-18 reveals some progress has been made to recover unpaid super through compliance activities however unfortunately, the amounts raised are insignificant compared to the $5.9 billion of super entitlements that are not paid,” the ISA submission said.
As well, it said that the ATO had never enforced its ability to impose penalties of up to 200% in instances where employers had fell short in their obligations.
“In the 2019/20 Federal Budget, the ATO was given additional funding to recover unpaid super. It is critical that the ATO can demonstrate that the additional funding is being effectively used for enforcement,” the ISA submissions said.
“Other relevant agencies such as the Fair Work Ombudsman and third parties such as unions or superannuation funds should be given greater scope to work with the ATO to recover unpaid super. This could be achieved through permitting the ATO to delegate an agent (such as a fund or service provider to them) to recover unpaid SG on application.”