If you’re a business owner or operator, you would be aware that you are ordinarily expected to pay Super Guarantee (SG) contributions or submit a SG Charge statement on time, to avoid being hit with multiple penalties by the ATO.
The Australian Government has declared that they will be allowing employers to apply for an exemption from normal SG penalties. Relevant amnesty can apply for any quarter between 1 July 1992 and 31 March 2018. Amnesty will only be accessible over a six-month period. Once this period has concluded, higher penalties will apply.
So, if this is relevant to you and you wish to apply for the exemption, it’s important to act now. Here’s what you need to know.
Normal payment penalties and deadlines
Under normal circumstances, if you fail to fulfil your obligations as an employer you may face up to 5 penalties. These include:
- Unpaid employer super contributions;
- Per employee quarterly ATO administration fee, ($20 per quarter per employee);
- Notional unpaid earnings on unpaid contributions;
- ATO imposed penalties that can be between 0% and 200% of the liability; and
- General interest charge where the SG charge or penalties are not paid by the due date.
All of these costs are not tax-deductible and additional penalties may also be imposed for false or misleading statements.
Ordinarily, employers are also expected to pay contributions 28 days after the end of each financial quarter:
- 28 October – September quarter;
- 28 January – December quarter;
- 28 April – March quarter; and
- 28 July – June quarter.
If you fail to provide SG contributions by these dates as an employer, you will need to submit an SG Charge statement to the ATO within 28 days of the start of the next month.
For further information regarding requirements, see the ATO’s guidelines here.
Are you eligible?
Further to the eligibility time period, only employers that have not previously been contacted by the ATO with a notification that they are reviewing their SG compliance for a quarter, may apply to use the amnesty. If you have been previously disqualified from participating, you will not be able to benefit from this plan.
Similarly, if you fail to pay or enter into a payment arrangement with the ATO, to resolve any SG charge that has been imposed upon you. You will lose the opportunity to claim amnesty.