The onerous penalty regime attaching to the non-payment of the superannuation guarantee (SG) has done little to curb the behaviour of miscreant employers and the Government will have to go further in empowering the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), according to the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA).
IPA chief executive, Andrew Conway said his organisation believed the ATO had been hamstrung by systemic issues on reporting the payment of the SG obligation.
“Superannuation funds report member contributions to the ATO on an annual basis and as a result, the ATO has no visibility of payment information for up to 15 months after the start of a financial year,” Conway said.
“This extended gap makes it difficult for the ATO to identify non-compliant employers in a timely manner,” he said. “There is a lack of transparency around the date that SG is actually paid.”
“Employers have 28 days after the end of the quarter to remit SG contributions for employees. This time lag makes the ATO’s task of tracking non-compliance much more difficult.”
Conway suggested that while the Single Touch Payroll (STP) regime would be mandatory from 1 July, next year, and would help expose non-complaint employers in a more timely manner, it would not be compulsory for businesses with less than 20 employees.
“The majority of non-compliant employers are small business operators so even with STP, timely corrective action will continue to be initiated from employee complaints, forcing the ATO to play catch-up,” he said.