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ATO action to reduce the gap

Published 30 October 2023

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 3 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 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 which makes paying super easier and cuts compliance costs.

To support employers in their crucial first 12 months of business, we provide education and services through our New to business essentials programExternal Link.

Our online tools to help employers get it right include:

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 give employees visibility of contributions made to their super funds through ATO online services.

Tools for employees include:

Correcting employers who don't get it right

We take the non-payment of super guarantee seriously and have a focused compliance program. Our program provides enforcement action to change employer behaviour and recover unpaid super guarantee.

We address non-compliance through:

  • proactively reminding employers of their obligations and to pay on time
  • reviewing employee notifications (complaints) about non-payment
  • nudging employers via letters, emails and phone calls to check their obligations and lodge super guarantee charge statements if they have not paid the full amounts on time and to the correct funds for their eligible employees
  • data analysis to identify potentially non-compliant employers for ATO-initiated reviews and audits.

Employee notifications

We receive notifications from employees who believe their employers have not met their super guarantee obligations. We review all notifications and investigate where non-compliance is identified.

Review and audits

Pay event reporting by employers through Single Touch Payroll and transaction-based reporting of contributions by super funds have significantly improved transparency of the super guarantee system to the ATO and employees. We use this information to detect non-compliance and implement preventative and corrective strategies when employers do not meet their obligations.

We analyse a range of ATO internal information on possible unpaid super guarantee and also obtain information from:

  • super funds
  • unions
  • government agencies
  • other third parties.

Where appropriate, we undertake compliance actions. In 2020–21, we examined the records of over 18,000 employers to address non-compliance. We also review compliance in conjunction with PAYG withholding tax audits targeted across a range of industries, regional areas and individual circumstances.

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

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