On 24 January 2018, the Commonwealth Government released an exposure draft of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Taxation and Superannuation Guarantee Integrity Measures) Bill 2018 ("Bill"). As currently drafted, the Bill would expand the powers of the Australian Taxation Office Commissioner ("ATO Commissioner") to target employers who fail to pay superannuation to their employees.
The Bill would broaden the Single Touch Payroll ("STP") reporting requirements such that these requirements would apply to all employers in Australia, regardless of the number of employees. The STP is the reporting platform through which employers provide the ATO Commissioner all payroll and superannuation information at the time these amounts are withheld or paid out to super funds.
The Bill would also empower the ATO Commissioner to issue written directions to employers if the ATO Commissioner reasonably believed that an employer had failed to comply with a superannuation obligation. The directions would require the employer to pay the amount of superannuation guarantee outstanding within a specified timeframe, as well as to undertake an education course, and to provide evidence of completing that course. A failure to comply with a written direction of the ATO Commissioner could be punishable by court-ordered penalties, as well as up to 12 months' imprisonment.
The Bill is intended to improve compliance with employers' statutory superannuation guarantee obligations. It is also intended to help ensure employees have at least a minimum level of superannuation support through contributions provided by their employer in respect of their employment.
Submissions in relation to the Bill are invited until 16 February 2018.