The Lander & Rogers Superannuation Alert is a brief overview of new developments in the superannuation industry.

  • On 13 October, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) updated the webpage Changes to superannuation excess contribution cap notifying super funds that they are likely to receive excess concessional contributions release authorities in November/December 2014.
  • On 13 October, the ATO published the webpage SuperStream employer webinars uploading presentation slides that accompanied its webinar series on SuperStream Data and Payment Standard - Information for employers.  
  • On 13 October, the Australian Centre for Financial Studies and Mercer jointly released the 2014 Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index, which "[measures] 25 retirement income systems against more than 50 indicators under the sub-indices of adequacy, sustainability and integrity". Australia's retirement savings system was ranked second best in the world, just behind Denmark. According to the Index, the following measures are recommended:
    • "introducing a requirement that part of the retirement benefit must be taken as an income stream;
    • increasing the labour force participation rate at older ages;
    • introducing a mechanism to increase the pension age as life expectancy continues to increase; and
    • increasing the minimum access age to receive benefits from private pension plans so that access to retirement benefits is restricted to no more than five years before the age pension eligibility".
  • On 10 October 2014, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) handed down its decision in Re The Trustee for Rane Haulage Trust and Commissioner of Taxation [2014] AATA 733. The AAT held that the Commissioner had correctly imposed the nominal interest charge component in relation to amended assessments of the superannuation guarantee charge issued to a taxpayer. Following an audit of the taxpayer's employer obligations, the Commissioner made amended assessments of the superannuation guarantee charge in respect of several quarters where the taxpayer had failed to make all the necessary superannuation guarantee contributions by the relevant due dates. The taxpayer subsequently lodged superannuation guarantee statements for these periods, but these were more than 2 years overdue. In turn, the Commissioner imposed a nominal interest component calculated from the entire period from the beginning of the relevant quarter to the lodgement date of that statement. The taxpayer submitted that under section 37 of the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992 (SGA Act) the Commissioner was empowered to make any alterations to superannuation guarantee charge assessments considered necessary, and that he should exercise that power to remove or reduce the nominal interest component in the taxpayer's case. The taxpayer submitted that the imposition of the interest component calculated by reference to the date of lodgement of the statement, as opposed to the (earlier) date when the late contributions were made, was "unfair, inequitable and unreasonable". The taxpayer did not dispute that the calculation was in fact in accordance with the law. The AAT held that section 37 of the SGA Act only authorises the Commissioner to amend an assessment where it is necessary to bring the assessment into alignment with the Commissioner's understanding of the facts and the law. Therefore, in the present case, the Commissioner was not authorised by that provision to remove or reduce the nominal interest charge in circumstances where it had been correctly calculated under section 31 of the SGA Act.  
  • On 17 October, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre released its Annual Report 2013-14, which concerns its operations and performance for the year ended 30 June 2014 as measured against its business priorities and outcome-program reporting structure.