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ATO powers upped in new compliance laws


The Tax Office is set to have its penalty powers increased on employers who are not compliant with superannuation guarantee requirements under new laws introduced to Parliament.

By Katarina Taurian 10 minute read

Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No.4) Bill 2018, if passed, will give the ATO access to new enforcement and collection provisions, including for director penalty notices.

The ATO will also have the power to apply for court-ordered penalties which include up to 12 months' imprisonment.

Single touch payroll (STP) will be central to ATO surveillance, and this plus other incoming laws give the ATO access to current information about the amounts of superannuation that employers owe their employees.


The government has long-flagged its intentions to target SG non-compliance. In 2017, the ATO announced plans to increase its SG casework by about one-third.

The Tax Office estimates that the net superannuation gap — which is the difference between the value of the SG gap required to be paid by law minus what is actually paid — is about $2.85 billion.

The net gap has increased from 3.8 per cent in 2009/10 to 5.2 per cent in 2014/15 of the total amount that was owed to employees.

Also, about 20,000 reports of unpaid superannuation are made to the ATO each year, with key non-compliance drivers including poor cash flow management by employers, poor record keeping, and insolvency.

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Katarina Taurian


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