• Penalties, amendments and objections

    If you don't meet your super guarantee (SG) obligations, you may be liable for a range of penalties or charges on top of the super guarantee charge. You're entitled to amend or object to an assessment we make.

    On this page:

    Choice liability

    This is a penalty for not giving eligible employees a choice of super fund. You pay it if:

    • you haven't given them a standard choice form within the required timeframe
    • you've paid their super to a complying fund but not the fund they chose
    • you charge them a fee for implementing their choice of fund.

    The choice liability penalty is part of the super guarantee charge (SGC).

    Director penalties

    The director of a company that fails to meet an SGC liability in full by the due date automatically becomes personally liable for a penalty equal to the unpaid amount.

    When an SGC liability remains outstanding, we may issue a director penalty notice (DPN), though this is necessary only to enable us to start legal proceedings to recover the penalty. Even without issuing a notice, we can collect the penalty by other means, for example, by withholding a tax refund.

    The penalty will be remitted if your company pays the outstanding amount at any time. It may be remitted if your company goes into voluntary administration or liquidation (conditions apply).

    See also:

    Other penalties

    General interest charge

    If you lodge an SGC statement but don't pay the charge by the due date, you incur an additional charge – the general interest charge (GIC). It accrues from the date your SGC is due up to the date you pay your SGC account in full. The GIC is calculated on a daily compounding basis and is tax-deductible in the year you incur it.

    Administrative penalty

    If you pay less SGC than you should because you made a false or misleading statement, we can impose an administrative penalty. The base penalty amount can be up to 75% of the shortfall. It can be varied according to your circumstances.

    Failing to keep records

    The maximum fine for an individual convicted of failing to keep adequate records is 30 penalty units. You may also be liable for an administrative penalty of 20 penalty units.

    Failing to provide an SGC statement when required

    If you lodge your SGC statement late, or fail to provide a statement or information when we ask for it during an audit, you are liable for a penalty (Part 7 penalty). The maximum penalty is 200% of the amount of the charge payable.

    Failing to pass on a TFN

    You're liable for 10 penalty units each time you don't provide an eligible employee's TFN to their super fund or RSA within the required time.

    Arrangements to avoid your obligations

    If you enter into arrangements to avoid certain obligations, such as your liability for the SGC, you may incur the charge you avoided plus a penalty. We can vary the base penalty according to your circumstances.

    Amendments and objections

    When we receive your superannuation guarantee charge (SGC) statement, we treat it as an assessment issued on that date.

    Amendments

    You can ask for an amendment at any time within four years of the date the assessment was made (the date we received your SGC statement). You must provide copies of all supporting documentation with your amendment request.

    Objections

    You can object to an assessment within 60 days of the date the assessment was made (the date we received your SGC statement). To object to an assessment, you must:

    • provide us with the grounds for your objection in writing
    • sign your statement (or have an authorised representative sign it)
    • provide us with copies of the evidence to support your objection.

    You must still pay the SGC, even if you're objecting or requesting an amendment to your assessment. But if you're successful, we will refund any overpayment.

    You can't object to the general interest charge, although you can ask us to remit it if the circumstances are exceptional. To do this, explain in writing why you should not have to pay the general interest charge and send your request to us at:

    Australian Taxation Office
    PO Box 277
    WTC  VIC  8005

    Appeals and review process

    If your objection is not allowed in full, you may apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review or appeal to the Federal Court against the decision within another 60 days.

    See also:

    Last modified: 30 Aug 2016QC 44708