ATO questioned over lack of superannuation stapling advertising

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) did not undertake any mass market advertising for the Your Future, Your Super (YFYS) reform including superannuation stapling changes.

Appearing at Senate Estimates, Labor Senator Jess Walsh, said the Senate had spoken to Treasury who referred them to the ATO on questions concerning advertising and outreach regarding YFYS.

Responding to Walsh, ATO deputy commissioner, superannuation and employer obligations, Emma Rosenzweig, said the ATO did not undertake any paid ‘above-the-line’ (ATL) advertising campaigns for YFYS.

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ATL was focused on mass media promotion to reach large audiences and includes media such as radio, TV and print whereas below the line advertising refers to targeted marketing such as email campaigns.

Rosenzweig said the ATO did employ its existing methods of communication, including direct messages to all 800,000 employers, educating them on new stapling obligations.

“We also worked through our usual stakeholder groups; we had social media posts; we had fairly comprehensive material about these obligations,” she said.

To clarify, Senator Walsh asked whether the only way for employees to access information that stapling was going to occur was through the ATO’s website or through Facebook.

In reply, Rosenzweig said stapling only applied to new employees and an employer did not need to go back and request stapling for existing employees and that new employees were given a superannuation choice form by their employer.

“The most targeted way that we had to make sure that employees understood the impacts of stapling was to make it very prominent in that choice process that if they did not select a fund their employer would use the stapling service and receive a stapled fund for them,” Rosenzweig said.

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