Industry Super Australia (ISA) is encouraging the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to follow through on beefing up enforcement to ensure people do not make inappropriate use of the Government hardship early access to superannuation scheme.
Reacting to a statement from the ATO that it has caught people doing the wrong thing and that it will be looking to catch people trying to exploit the scheme to minimise their end of financial year tax bill, ISA said that while it had consistently supported the policy intent of the early release scheme it had consistently warned there was a risk of it being misused.
“Unfortunately, those concerns have been realised with troubling reports of bank data showing money from super was being spent on discretionary items like alcohol, furniture or gambling,” the ISA said while noting that the ATO had also confirmed it has caught people doing the wrong thing.
“We welcome the ATO’s renewed focus on compliance and its warning to applicants that it will use all available tools to find dodgy claims,” the ISA said. “The ATO has also warned they are on the look-out for those seeking to exploit the scheme to minimise their tax bill at the end of the financial year.”
“Members should carefully check the requirements before applying for access to their super, if the claim is found to be ineligible, they could be lumped with a far higher tax bill. Applicants found to have made a deliberately misleading claim could also be slapped with a $12,000 fine.”
ISA chief executive, Bernie Dean said that ineligible applicants were undermining the credibility of the emergency scheme and could actually be holding up payments for those who desperately needed the money now.
“The Australian Tax Office has a clear warning to those wanting to make a dodgy application – don’t - you will be caught, made to pay more tax and fined.”