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The Government has reintroduced legislation to establish a one-off amnesty for historical underpayment of superannuation guarantee (‘SG’).

The Bill incentivises employers to “come forward and do the right thing by their employees” by paying any unpaid superannuation in full.

Editor: The amnesty was originally intended to apply from 24 May 2018 until 23 May 2019, but the legislation to establish the amnesty did not pass the last Parliament.

The new Bill will still apply the amnesty from 24 May 2018, but will extend it until 6 months after the day the Act (if passed) receives royal assent (refer to Treasury Laws Amendment (Recovering Unpaid Superannuation) Bill 2019).

To use the amnesty, employers must still pay all that is owing to their employees, including interest.

However, to encourage employers to come forward and pay outstanding superannuation, they will not be hit with the penalties usually associated with late payment.

Importantly, employers who do not take advantage of the one-off amnesty will face significantly higher penalties when they are subsequently caught — typically, employers will face a minimum 100% penalty on top of the superannuation guarantee charge (‘SGC’) they owe.

In addition, throughout the amnesty period, the ATO will still continue its usual enforcement activity against employers for historical obligations they do not own up to voluntarily.

“Since  the  one-off  amnesty  was  announced, over 7,000 employers have come forward to voluntarily disclose historical unpaid super,” Assistant Minister Hume said.

“The ATO estimates an additional 7,000 employers will come forward due to the extension of the amnesty. This means around $160 million of superannuation will be paid to employees who would otherwise have missed out.”

Ref: Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Technology’s media release, 18 September 2019