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  • Missed and late super guarantee payments

    If you do not pay an employee's super guarantee on time and to the right fund, you must lodge the superannuation guarantee charge (SGC) statement and pay the SGC to us.

    When eligibility requirements are met, late super payments can be used to offset the SGC, pay super in the current quarter or put the payment towards future super payments.

    The SGC is not tax-deductible.

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    Missed super guarantee payments

    If you do not pay an employee's super on time or to the right fund, you must:

    Example: missed super guarantee payments

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

    Teddy realises that the super guarantee quarterly due date cannot be extended by law. To avoid penalties, Teddy must lodge the superannuation guarantee charge (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 for the quarter to the ATO by the due date to avoid additional penalties. He also sets up a flexible payment plan.

    End of example

    Late super guarantee payment options

    If you do not pay an employee's super on time and to the right fund, you must lodge the superannuation guarantee charge (SGC) statement and pay the SGC to us.

    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 Super guarantee (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.

    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 the payment to the fund on 1 July.

    Charles made his payment after the quarterly due date of 28 April but before he lodges an SGC statement. Because of the late payment, he lodges an SGC statement through Online services for business.

    When he lodges his SGC statement on 10 July, he 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 super guarantee in the quarter the payment is made
    • put the payment towards future super guarantee 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 super guarantee compliance approach supports employers who engage with us and want to get things right.

    We have tools and calculators to help you understand and meet super guarantee obligations.

    We'll take firmer action for employers unwilling to meet super guarantee obligations. In some cases, we will:

    • undertake a super guarantee 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 super guarantee 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.

    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 super guarantee obligations
    • you have a good compliance history.

    For example, we may reduce a penalty for an employer who lodged a 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 at least 100% of the SGC.

    We can also help you:

    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 a:

    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: 02 Jul 2021QC 33750