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Missed and late super guarantee payments

What to do if you're an employer and don't pay an employee's super guarantee (SG) in full, on time or to the right fund.

Last updated 3 June 2024


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

If an employee believes their SG obligations have not been met, they can contact us and make an employee notification (EN). We review all notifications and will pursue outstanding amounts where we find a discrepancy. We will work with you if you are unable to pay in full to establish a payment plan.

We may also notify other employees about potential SG owed. We can take firmer action to pursue outstanding debts, including the commencement of legal proceedings to recover an amount owed.

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.

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. He knows that to avoid penalties, he must lodge an SGC statement (NAT 9599) within a month of the quarterly due date (in this case, 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

Media: Paying super guarantee late Link (Duration:03:01)

Late payment options

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

  • offset the shortfall and nominal interest components 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 have:

  • made the payment to your employee's super fund
  • made the payment before the date your original SGC assessment was made
  • lodged your late payment offset election in the SGC statement through Online services for business within 4 years of your original SGC assessment date
  • advised us of the date of late payment to your employee's super fund.

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.

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

Note: A nomination to offset late payments is binding and cannot be changed. If you choose to have the contributions offset against the SGC, you cannot withdraw this choice.

How to lodge a late payment offset election

To lodge a late payment offset election, use the SGC statement (NAT 9599). Lodge through Online services for business:

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

If you are unable to lodge online, phone us on 13 10 20 for other options.

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. 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.

End of example

Carry forward late super guarantee payments

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

Example: late super guarantee 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 has 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 both:

  • 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 receive an employee notification
  • if we detect they have not paid their SG on time and the due date has passed
  • if we detect they have not paid the right amount of SG 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 employee's super fund:

  • they should review their records to ensure they have met their obligations in full
  • they do not need 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, you can phone us on 13 10 20.

Difficulty paying super guarantee

If you are having trouble meeting your SG obligations, you should make a voluntary disclosure by completing and lodging an SGC statement (NAT 9599) by its due date, even if you cannot pay it in full.

Once you become liable to pay the SGC, nominal interest accrues to the later of the due date or date you lodge the SGC statement. We encourage you to lodge no later than the due date, 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
  • 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 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.

For more information, see Super guarantee penalties.

Help and support

For more help, you can:

Find out about the super guarantee charge (SGC), including how to lodge an SGC statement by the due date, and pay.

You may have to pay penalties or charges on top of the super guarantee charge, if you don’t meet your obligations.

We can help you if disasters make it difficult to pay super guarantee contributions for your employees on time.