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  • Missed and late super guarantee payments

    What happens if you do not pay an employee's super on time or to the right fund.

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    If you do not pay an employee's super guarantee (SG) to the right fund on or before the due date, you must:

    Your employee's super contribution is only considered 'paid' on the date it's received by the super fund.

    If you are using a clearing house, payments made to the clearing house that are not processed, or do not reach the super fund until after the payment due date are considered late payments.

    Note: Processing times vary between clearing houses. You must check the processing timeframes required by your clearing house to ensure your payments will be processed before the payment due dates.

    Example: missed super guarantee payments

    Teddy owns and runs a novelty store and usually pays super for eligible employees on time. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Teddy misses paying super to his employees’ funds for the SG quarterly due date of 28 April (for the quarter ending 31 March).

    Teddy knows that the SG quarterly due date cannot be extended by law. To avoid penalties, Teddy must lodge an SGC statement within a month of the quarterly due date (in this example: by 28 May) and pay the SGC to the ATO for the outstanding super he owes.

    Teddy cannot pay the SGC in full but lodges his SGC statement through Online services for business by the due date to avoid additional penalties. He also sets up a flexible payment plan.

    End of example

    Late payment options

    If you made a late super payment to an employee's super fund, you may be able to use it to:

    • apply the offset to reduce the shortfall and nominal interest component of the SGC
    • pay super in the current quarter
    • put the payment towards future super payments (limited to a period no more than 12 months from the beginning of the quarter).

    Offset the SGC with late super payments

    You can offset late payments against the SGC if you:

    • made the payment to your employee's super fund
    • made the payment before the date your original SGC assessment was made
    • lodge your late payment offset election in the SGC statement (XLS, 745KB)This link will download a file through Online services for business within 4 years of your original SGC assessment date
    • advise us of the date of late payment to your employee's super fund.

    Note: A nomination to offset late payments is binding and cannot be changed.

    To lodge:

    • attach the spreadsheet to a new secure mail message
    • select Superannuation as the topic
    • select Lodge SGC Statement as the subject.

    To advise of late payment date/s:

    • attach evidence of the late payment/s in a separate secure mail message
    • select Superannuation as the topic
    • select Other as the subject.

    If you are unable to lodge through Online services for business, phone us on 13 10 20 for other options.

    Offset late super payments against the SGC:

    • are not tax-deductible
    • cannot be used as a contribution for the current quarter or future quarter's super contributions.

    If you choose to have the contributions offset against the SGC, you cannot withdraw this choice.

    For quarters beginning on or after 1 January 2020, a salary-sacrificed contribution cannot be offset against the SGC.

    Example: late super guarantee payment offset

    Charles meant to contribute to his employee's super fund by 28 April for the quarter ending 31 March. However, he made his payment late to the fund on 1 July.

    Charles made his payment after the quarterly due date of 28 April and because of the late payment, Charles is still required to lodge an SGC statement. Charles lodges an SGC statement through Online services for business on 10 July.

    When he lodges his SGC statement, Charles can elect to claim the late super payment offset, which will reduce the SG shortfall and nominal interest of the SGC. Charles then pays the remaining SGC and sends evidence of the late payments through Online services for business.

    End of example

    Carry forward late super payments

    You can carry forward a late super payment if:

    • it's for the same employee
    • the start of the carried forward quarter is within 12 months after the payment date.

    If you make a late super payment, you can use it to:

    • offset the SGC
    • count towards SG in the quarter the payment is made
    • put the payment towards future SG quarters.

    If you carry forward a late super payment, it is only tax-deductible in the year it's received by the super fund.

    Example: late super payment carried forward

    Hannah makes a late super payment for her employee on 5 November, missing the quarterly due date of 28 October.

    As Hannah missed the due date, she must lodge an SGC statement and pay the SGC.

    Hannah decides to carry forward the late payment made on 5 November. She uses it towards the employee super for the quarter, ending 30 March in the following year. Hannah can do this because the payment is for:

    • the same employee
    • a quarter in the 12 months following the date she paid it.
    End of example

    Super guarantee compliance approach

    Our SG compliance approach supports employers that engage with us and want to get things right.

    We may contact an employer by phone, email or letter:

    • if we detect they have not paid the right amount of SG on time for one or more of their employees
    • reminding them of the requirement to lodge an SGC statement.

    If an employer receives a contact letter or email and believes they have paid in full and on time to the super fund of an employee:

    • they should review their records to ensure they have met their obligations in full
    • there is no requirement to contact us.

    We conduct additional checks before taking firmer action for employers unwilling to meet SG obligations. In some cases, we will:

    • undertake an SG audit of an employer
    • raise SGC assessments with additional penalties for not lodging the statement by the due date.

    If you're unsure what action to take for your situation, phone us on 13 10 20.

    Issues meeting obligations

    If you are having trouble meeting your SG obligations, you should make a voluntary disclosure by completing and lodging an SGC statement by its due date, even if you cannot pay it in full.

    We are unable to provide extensions to lodge SGC statements past the due date. Nominal interest will be calculated until the lodgment date of the SGC statement. We encourage you to lodge as soon as possible, to minimise nominal interest.

    If you are experiencing difficulties lodging, phone us on 13 10 20 to discuss your circumstances.

    If you do not lodge the SGC statement by the due date, a Part 7 penalty will apply.

    We are more likely to reduce or waive the penalty if:

    • you make a genuine attempt to meet SG obligations
    • you have a good compliance history.

    For example, we may reduce a penalty for an employer who lodged an SGC statement after the relevant due date, but before being notified of ATO compliance action.

    If you do not lodge an SGC statement before audit action has started, a greater Part 7 penalty can apply. This could be up to 200% of the SGC.

    We can also help you:

    If you're unable to make a quarterly super contribution because you are affected by a natural disaster, we can help.

    Unwilling to meet obligations

    We will take stronger compliance action – including imposing additional penalties – if you do not:

    • engage with us promptly by replying to our correspondence
    • take steps to resolve your outstanding super guarantee obligations.

    We may also issue:

    We take this approach with employers who:

    • repeatedly do not pay the correct amount of super guarantee
    • make it difficult for us to determine an SGC liability
    • repeatedly fail to keep appointments
    • repeatedly fail to supply information without an acceptable reason
    • deliberately supply information that is irrelevant, inadequate or misleading
    • engage in any behaviour to delay the supply of information.

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    Last modified: 22 Dec 2022QC 33750