New SG laws hit Senate

New laws giving the ATO stronger powers to enforce superannuation guarantee obligations has progressed before the Senate.

If the Treasury Laws Amendment (Measures No.4) Bill 2018 is passed, the Commissioner of Taxation will be able to issue a written direction for employers to pay outstanding superannuation guarantee liability.

The direction will cover: the amount that the employer is required to pay, consequences of failing to comply with the direction and a 21-day deadline to make the payment.

An employer failing to comply will face a maximum penalty of 50 units, imprisonment for 12 months or both.

Currently, failure to pay an employee super results in financial penalties and failing to lodge an SG statement attracts a penalty of up to 200% calculated on the liability. General interest is also charged for late payments.

The new law would also give the ATO Commissioner power to make employers undertake an approved educational course and provide evidence once completed.

Industry Super Australia said it welcomed the Bill but it isn't strong enough to stop workers being routinely short-changed their super entitlements.

ISA's research shows this figure stands at $5.9 billion as at FY16.

Elsewhere, Treasury's review of accessing superannuation benefits early is accepting submissions until 15 February 2019.

New ground for early release covers victims of domestic violence. The trade-off however, would be exacerbating the savings gap between men and women, the paper said.

A significant trend Treasury said, was the spike in applications for bariatric surgery or weight loss surgery, together with a smaller proportion for vitro fertilisation or IVF treatment.

In the period between July and September 2016, about 56% of approved medical ground applications were for bariatric surgery (1857 applications) and 7% for IVF treatment (239 applications).

Read more: SuperannuationATOCommissioner of TaxationIndustry Super Australia
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