ATO takes actions on unpaid super

In good news for employees, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has begun to focus its resources on the issue of unpaid superannuation contributions.

Earlier this month, the ATO’s deputy commissioner for superannuation and employer obligations, James O’Halloran, announced that they will be contacting 2,500 employers that had been identified as having paid some or all of their superannuation contributions late during 2018-19. Furthermore, they’ll be sending due-date reminders to an additional 4,000 employers.

This action reflects the increasing capacity of the ATO to more effectively monitor and follow-up late or non-payment of superannuation contributions. With an unprecedented ‘visibility’ of superannuation accounts and transactions, the ATO is more effectively able to ‘follow up in relative real-time’ the late or non-payment of super contributions. Indeed, in the first three quarters of 2018-19, the ATO reviewed 75 million super contribution payments for some 400,000 employers.

In his speech to the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees earlier this month, Mr O’Halloran stated that from 2018-19, the ATO ‘contacted 22,000 employers and raised assessments for $805 million’ in outstanding super. Moreover, the ATO issued penalty notices valued at $283 million to 5,000 individual directors at 3,600 companies.

The ATO’s increased focus on unpaid superannuation contributions is a welcome development. Unpaid superannuation contributions are a key issue for many of our clients at Redfern Legal Centre. According to the ATO, roughly 1 in 10 superannuation contributions fail to be paid on time. This has a profound and long-term financial impact for our clients.

Despite the ATO’s enhanced capacity to monitor late or unpaid superannuation, it remains important to monitor your employer’s contributions to your superannuation fund. If you have unpaid superannuation contributions, you should consider seeking legal advice.

You can contact an employment lawyer at RLC for free, confidential advice on 02 9698 7277. Migrant workers in NSW can also call the free Migrant Legal Employment Service on 02 8002 1203.

Free telephone interpreters are availble on request.

Source: Australian Taxation Office