In a recent speech the ATO Deputy Commissioner James O’Halloran covered a number of topics relevant to employers, including obligations around STP (single touch payroll), SG (superannuation guarantee) and PAYG withholding.
The majority of Australian employers are now reporting under STP, and the ATO is getting in contact with those who are not yet within the system & aren’t covered by an approved deferral. Penalties may soon be applied where substantial employers fail to start reporting under the regime.
The ATO is conducting a ‘health check’ over each pay event received, to look for issues requiring attention. There is now visibility over which employers are paying SG late, or not at all. The ATO also now has visibility of possible shortfalls in PAYG withholding obligations, and is also matching STP data to activity statement data.
Recently, the ATO has examined the SG contributions of some 75 million payment transactions for around 400,000 employers, for the 1st, 2nd & 3rd quarters of the 2019 financial year. As a result, they have now started contacting around 7,500 employers who may have paid their SG contributions late, or not at all, for the 2019 financial year.
With this increased scrutiny, it’s a good time to review your payroll systems and SG contributions to ensure that you are meeting your obligations. We strongly recommend doing this so that you can be on the front foot if you do identify any shortfalls. This is something that we can help you with.
It’s also worth noting that that the proposed SG amnesty legislation is still progressing through parliament. If it becomes law, it will provide a one-off amnesty to allow employers to claim tax deductions for payments of SGC, as well as reducing penalties & fees that may otherwise apply in relation to historical SG non-compliance to nil. Once law, employers would have until six months after Royal Assent to disclose any SG non-payment for periods prior to 24 May 2018 (back to 1992)
The ATO advises not to hold off lodging SGC statements in anticipation of the amnesty as if the law is passed it will be retrospective, and because if they are notified of the ATO reviewing their affairs, they won’t be eligible for the amnesty.
If you need some help with STP or SG, or if you have any questions, please feel free to get in contact with us.