The ATO has now confirmed that it has begun contacting 860,000 business owners through emails and letters to “encourage them to assure themselves that they have met their super guarantee obligations to their employees”.
An ATO spokesperson told Accountants Daily that the letters have not been specifically directed to employers who are suspected of failing to meet their SG obligations.
“Many of the employers who receive the correspondence will check their records and conclude that they have fully complied with their obligations. If this is the case, these employers do not need to do anything further,” the ATO spokesperson said.
“However, for those employers who receive the ATO’s correspondence and determine they need to address any unpaid super guarantee, the letter reminds them the amnesty ends on 7 September 2020.”
Despite coinciding with shutdowns and the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, the SG amnesty continues to run to its six-month deadline on 7 September.
The government has remained unmoved on the deadline, despite the best efforts of the professional accounting bodies, who have called for the amnesty to be extended by a further six months.
While the ATO is unable to extend the benefits of the amnesty beyond its legislated due date, it has acknowledged that some businesses may not be fully able to pay their super guarantee debt at this time due to COVID-19.
As such, it will allow businesses to establish a payment plan that can be extended beyond 7 September, although only payments made by the deadline will be tax-deductible.
“Super is a form of deferred wages and every bit as important to be paid, and paid in full,” said Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology, Senator Jane Hume.
“The super guarantee amnesty allows employers a one-off opportunity to come forward, pay or put a plan in place to pay, and set things right without facing financial penalties from the Tax Office.
“If you are in any doubt, it is vitally important that you talk to your tax agent or the ATO today; the amnesty expires in a month and it will take time to verify the amount of any unpaid super and pay it or put a payment plan in place.”
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Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.