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  • ATO action to reduce the gap

    We are committed to actively reducing non-compliance and improving willing participation by employers in the super guarantee system.

    As the estimated super guarantee gap does not identify the reasons for non-compliance, we focus on reducing non-compliance in three ways:

    Helping employers to get it right

    We offer support to make it as easy as possible for employers to understand and comply with their super guarantee obligations. This includes face-to-face interactions, phone calls, webinars, website content, printed publications, social media and in ATO communities.

    At our tax professional open forums and small business conversations held across Australia, we focus on the importance of employers complying with their super guarantee requirements. We remind employers about super guarantee due dates and the consequences of not meeting their quarterly payment and reporting obligations.

    The Small Business Superannuation Clearing House is a free service we provide to small businesses, which makes paying super easier and cuts compliance costs.

    We also provide education and services to new businesses through our New to business essentials programExternal Link to support people in their crucial first 12 months of business.

    Online tools include our:

    Some other ATO resources to help employers get it right include:

    Further, we are helping small businesses and their advisers to better understand and manage their cash flow.

    Helping employees understand their entitlements

    Our activities are not limited to employers. We provide online super tools to make it easier for employees to understand and report unpaid super guarantee. We also provide employees visibility of contributions made to their super fund accounts, as reported to us by super funds, through ATO online services.

    Tools for employees include:

    Correcting employers who don't get it right

    Our super guarantee compliance program provides enforcement action to change employer behaviour and recover unpaid super guarantee. We address non-compliance through:

    • investigating employee notifications – these are complaints made to us by employees or former employees about the non-payment of super guarantee
    • data analysis to identify potentially non-compliant employers to undertake ATO-initiated reviews and audits.

    Employee notifications

    We receive reports from employees who believe that their employers have not met their super guarantee obligations. We review all notifications received.

    Review and audits

    We analyse data we hold, as well as information we receive from super funds, unions, government agencies and other third parties, on possible unpaid super guarantee. Where appropriate, we undertake compliance actions. In 2020–21, we examined the records of over 18,000 employers to address super guarantee non-compliance.

    The super guarantee charge imposes nominal interest and an administrative charge in all cases, on top of the super guarantee shortfall. An additional super guarantee charge can impose further penalties of up to 200%

    We examine every report of non-compliance, and we follow up with these employers. If necessary, we will undertake audits and apply penalties.

    We also review super guarantee compliance in conjunction with pay as you go (PAYG) withholding tax audits targeted across a range of industries, regional areas and individual circumstances to address non-compliant behaviour.

    We work across government to support and enhance our current super guarantee compliance approaches.

    The introduction of pay event reporting by employers through Single Touch Payroll (STP) and transaction-based reporting of contributions by super funds will bring significantly improved transparency of the super guarantee system to the ATO and employees. We currently use the information from STP and transaction-based reporting of contributions to detect non-compliance earlier and have implemented differentiated preventative and corrective strategies where employers are identified as not meeting their obligations.

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      Last modified: 19 Oct 2021QC 57181