The Superannuation Guarantee Amnesty ( The amnesty ) is a government developed program to allow those who have fallen short of superannuation contributions payable to employees to catch up without the fear of reprisal.
The ATO introduced the amnesty on March 6, 2020, where it passed parliament.
The amnesty includes assistance to pay the owed amounts by way of making superannuation contributions before September 7, 2020 tax deductible. You won’t have to pay the administration fee of $20 per employee per quarter, and won’t have any Part 7 Penalties applied. An application for a payment plan/arrangement can be made.
There are limitations though. You must be the one who has told the ATO about the shortfalls; If the ATO finds out that you haven’t paid your employees the appropriate amounts of superannuation without you bringing the information forward, you will not be eligible, and you will not be afforded any of the benefits of the amnesty.
Some employers may be eligible for refunds. For employers who are eligible and have previously lodged a Superannuation Guarantee Charge ( SGC ) statement between May 24 2018 and March 6 2020, the ATO will automatically amend your returns and will issue any refunds to you as soon as they can.
If you have made SGC payments or superannuation contributions to employee super funds for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 financial years which are eligible for income tax reductions, you will need to amend your returns for those years and any eligible refunds will be processed and returned to you generally within 14 days.
It’s a good idea at this point to contact the ATO and make sure that all of your financial details are up to date to ensure that the refunds get sent to the right place.
To be eligible for the amnesty, certain criteria must be met. This can be a bit of a backwards sounding process, considering that if you apply, and are deemed ineligible, you can be fined and have interest charges levied against you, which would not really make it an amnesty, but a left-handed way of dobbing yourself in, even if your shortfall was unintentional.
However, these eligibility criteria are:
- You have not been notified about any intention of the ATO to examine your superannuation guarantee obligations for the financial quarters which your disclosure relates to
- The shortfall you are disclosing must not have already been disclosed, or you are disclosing more than what you have previously disclosed in the quarter/s in question
- Disclose all your financial quarters relevant between July 1 1992 and March 31 2018
- Lodge your completed superannuation guarantee amnesty form before September 7 2020
If you are deemed ineligible:
- You will receive a letter explaining why your application was rejected
- You will be charged $20 per employee, per quarter, which is the administration charge of the SGC
- You may be fined up to 200% of the shortfall, plus 10% interest of the total fine
- Any SGC payments will not be tax deductible
It is imperative to ensure that you comply with your superannuation guarantee obligations, however, should you become aware of a situation that requires use of the SGC amnesty, obtain advice as soon as possible before the amnesty ends.
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