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Superannuation in the spotlight

Superannuation in the spotlight

Sarah Dunn, James Simpson and James Trainor discuss why organisations should review their compliance with the Superannuation Guarantee.

Sarah Dunn

Partner, Dispute Resolution & Controversy

KPMG Australia


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Spotlight on an empty stage.

As the cornerstone of Australia’s retirement system, superannuation is in the constant glare of personal, government and media scrutiny.

Government enquiries and union backed research, have identified potentially significant underpayment of employer Superannuation Guarantee (SG) obligations. Consequently, SG compliance has become a particular focus of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

As highlighted in the media last year, an Australian university detected a payroll systems error which had led to the accidental underpayment of SG contributions to a large number of employees over a number of years.

These system errors can be small and difficult to identify but can have significant consequences, particularly where they go undetected for many years. Significant penalties (twice the amount of the underpayment) and personal liability for company directors, are some of the mechanisms available to enforce superannuation compliance.

We have recently assisted a client by bringing a multi-disciplinary team together on a project of this nature with a very successful outcome:

  • Our KPMG Law, Superannuation and Employment Taxes specialists were able to advise on obligations under the SG legislation (in particular which payment types were within or outside the calculation of “Ordinary Times Earnings”), and additional contractual obligations under their employment arrangements.
  • Our Data Analytics team were then able to review payroll data relating to many thousand employees over a number of years to precisely identify on an employee by employee basis whether there had been an underpayment and quantifying those underpayments on a quarter by quarter basis (as required by the legislation), and their report was accepted by the ATO without the need for further audit activity.
  • Our Dispute Resolution and Controversy team assisted the client to make a comprehensive Voluntary Disclosure to the ATO which resulted in the ATO remitting all penalties.

As you prepare for the introduction of Single Touch Payroll (STP) from 1 July 2018, now is the perfect time to turn the spotlight on superannuation in your organisation to review past compliance, and ensure future compliance, with your SG obligations.

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