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13 June 2018

Ombudsman outlines support of superannuation amnesty for small businesses

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has appeared before the Senate Standing Committees on Economics hearing on the Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Superannuation Measures No. 1) Bill 2018.

“Yesterday I outlined my support of the 12 month Superannuation Guarantee Amnesty in this Bill, so the very few small businesses across Australia that are not up-to-date with their superannuation obligations for current and past employees are able to get their affairs in order,” Ombudsman Kate Carnell said.

During the hearing, Ms Carnell requested:

  • the amnesty commence from the date it is passed into legislation, to maximise the preparation time for small businesses
  • the conditions of no penalties and payments being tax deductible extend for the life of a payment plan
  • the amnesty be prominently and repeatedly promoted to create awareness of this exclusive opportunity.

“Small businesses will need time to work with their accountant, audit and identify missed payments, and calculate the capacity to pay within their projected cash flow. Allowing preparation time while the legislation is considered will maximise the number of businesses willing, and ready, to take advantage of the amnesty,” Ms Carnell said.

“Small businesses may not have the financial capacity to make catch-up payments in one lump sum and still meet ongoing obligations. If they enter into a payment plan, payments made during the duration of the plan must attract the same conditions.

“And during the period of the amnesty, regular promotion through all channels available should be carried out to alert and remind small businesses of the opportunity to become compliant without penalties.

“Moving forward, I would like to see a superannuation system for small business that is less complicated and easier to comply with. This would ensure unpaid superannuation to employees is an issue of the past.”