7 September 2020 is the last day for employers to take advantage of the superannuation guarantee (SG) amnesty. The amnesty provides a one-off opportunity to disclose historical non-compliance with the superannuation guarantee rules and pay outstanding superannuation guarantee charge amounts.

To qualify for the amnesty, employers must:

  • disclose the outstanding SG to the Tax Commissioner; and
    • either pay the full amount owing, or
    • if the business cannot pay the full amount, enter into a payment plan with the ATO.

NB: If you agree to a payment plan and do not meet the payments, the amnesty will no longer apply.

The amnesty only applies to “voluntary” disclosures. The ATO will continue its compliance activities during the amnesty period and if they discover the underpayment first, full penalties apply. The amnesty also does not apply to amounts that have already been identified as owing or where the employer is subject to an ATO audit.

Even if you do not believe that your business has an SG underpayment issue, it is worth undertaking a payroll audit to ensure that your payroll calculations are correct, and employees are being paid at a rate that is consistent with their entitlements under workplace laws and awards.

If your business has engaged any contractors during the period covered by the amnesty, then the arrangements may need to be reviewed  – as it is common for workers to be classified as employees under the SG provisions even if the parties have agreed that the worker should be treated as a contractor. You cannot contract out of SG obligations.