ATO warns bosses who underpay or keep superannuation from staff to face steep fines

At least there has been some progress with SUPER …

-the ATO estimated in 2017 that rogue employers short-changed staff by an average $2.81B every year between 2009 and 2015

Industry Super Australia has claimed that around a third of Australian workers have been ripped off by bosses who withhold all or some of the superannuation guarantee

-the ATO has recovered $805M in unpaid super from 23,000 businesses over the past year

WAGES ... that’s another issue … SEARCH CAAN WEBSITE for the lowest wages growth since WW2; exploitation of Visa Workers; high youth unemployment and underemployment; and the interview of Shadow Minister for Employment Brendan O’Connor by Hamish Macdonald …

IN AUSTRALIA it’s not a criminal offence to pay employees less than the minimum wageSo as seen on SBS ‘The feed’ this is a wide-spread problem of thieving from workers. Wage theft is said to affect migrant workers more than others, exploited owing to

-limited language skills
-little knowledge of standards of  employment, wages and conditions
-coercion by employers

ATO warns bosses who underpay or keep superannuation from staff to face steep fines

By senior business correspondent Peter Ryan

17 OCTOBER 2019

Various denominations of notes of Australian money.

PHOTO: Employers must contribute 9.5 per cent into eligible workers’ super funds. (Reuters: Daniel Munoz )

RELATED STORY: Rogue employers ‘robbing’ staff by dodging super payments

RELATED STORY: How much compulsory super do people need? It’s a question that needs to be asked

Bosses who deliberately underpay or withhold compulsory superannuation payments from their staff are being warned by the Australian Tax Office to end the rip-off or face steep fines.

Key points:

  • The ATO’s pursuit of dodgy employers holding back super has been boosted by the introduction of Single Touch Payroll
  • The system has so far allowed nearly 500,000 employers to report every payday for 11 million employees rather than annually
  • And the ATO has recently scrutinised 75 million transactions for 400,000 businesses using the cross-matching system

Reminder emails — described by the ATO as a “nudge” — will go to 4,000 employers with a track record of late super payments and another 500 bosses who have failed to pay the right amount by the quarterly date.

The crackdown will target known offenders in the super rip-off, including cafes, restaurants, clubs, supermarkets and tradie subcontractors in the construction industry, but also architectural, legal and advertising firms.

Deputy Tax Commissioner James O’Halloran told the ABC’s AM program that employers who failed to lodge superannuation guarantee payments were robbing their staff and would be asked to explain the non-payment.

“It does seem to be in a range of service-type industries. Sometimes it’s obviously some cashflow pressures. But ultimately, by not paying the superannuation guarantee, the employee misses out on money for their retirement future,” Mr O’Halloran said.

James O'Halloran looks to the camera in a mid-shot. He wears a black suit, a light shirt and purple and pink tie and has glasses

PHOTO: James O’Halloran said about 4 or 5 per cent of businesses appeared not to be paying. (Supplied)

“We still encourage people to come forward to the ATO, should they believe that they have not been paid their super guarantee. But of course, we can match patterns now and look for people who continually pay late or don’t pay the correct amount.”

The ATO’s pursuit of dodgy employers who hold back compulsory super has been boosted by the introduction of Single Touch Payroll where nearly 500,000 employers now report every payday for 11 million employees rather than annually.

Under the mandatory superannuation guarantee, employers are required to contribute the current minimum 9.5 per cent into the super funds of any worker aged 18 and over, earning $450 a month.

AUDIO: The Tax Office is targetting bosses who hold back super guarantee (AM)

Mr O’Halloran said the ATO recently scrutinised 75 million transactions for 400,000 businesses using cross-matching systems including Single Touch Payroll.

“There will be 500 businesses that we will be following up who do not appear to be paying what they are committed to pay.

“So their employee does not appear to have got the payment that they should have got, that was promised to them,” Mr O’Halloran said.

Superannuation is about more than just money. Don’t overlook the benefits of ‘time in the market’

Superannuation is about more than just money. Don't overlook the benefits of 'time in the market'

You don’t have to be a mathematician to understand the benefits of compound interest.

“We think there’s about 4 or 5 per cent of businesses that appear not to be paying.

“Depending on the response we get from people, there will be some follow-up, as well as the possibility of some reviews and audits and, therefore, some penalties.”

*The ATO estimated in 2017 that rogue employers short-changed staff by an average $2.81 billion every year between 2009 and 2015.

*Industry Super Australia has claimed that around a third of Australian workers have been ripped off by bosses who withhold all or some of the superannuation guarantee.

Mr O’Halloran said the ATO was at the beginning of a “very proactive and very intentional follow-up” with employers.

“Come forward now, or the penalties and the sanctions will be more serious. Do the right thing: pay your employees what they are entitled to,” Mr O’Halloran warned.

*The ATO has recovered $805 million in unpaid super from 23,000 businesses over the past year.

SOURCE:
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-17/superannuation-underpayment-withholding-told-stop-ato-fines/11612866

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