The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) has added their voice to the choir advocating for a 12-month superannuation guarantee (SG) amnesty period, saying it would help “mainly compliant” employers from small businesses.
IPA chief executive, Andrew Conway, said that small businesses could occasionally suffer cash flow issues, making vulnerable to not meeting their SG obligations by the required date.
“A small business employer who is late in paying the SG obligation, face a plethora of harsh penalties which are disproportionate to the mischief.”
An amnesty period would “incentivise employers to come forward and do the right thing by their employees by paying any unpaid superannuation in full,” Conway said.
“This one-off amnesty should be supported to allow employers to wipe the slate clean and pay their workers what they're owed, as all Australians workers should be paid their entitlements in full.”
While the IPA acknowledged that some form of penalty regime was required, saying that non-payment of super was wage theft, they said that the existing system was “draconian”.
The group said that the timing of amnesty period was appropriate, as the Government was currently further strengthening the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO’s) tools with which SG underpayment compliance could be enforced.
Employers who did not take advantage of the amnesty period would face significantly higher charges of 50 per cent on top of the SG charge owed if they were later caught. The ATO would also be continuing its usual enforcement against employers throughout the amnesty period.
The Australian Labor Party (ALP) had said it would strongly oppose the amnesty proposal should the Government try to get it through Parliament.