The ATO plans to use the data it is gathering through Single Touch Payroll to crack down on the non-payment of Super Guarantee.
As a result of the introduction of Single Touch Payroll, the ATO now has much more – and more timely – data about the transactions of employers, including for superannuation, allowing the early detection of problems.
Speaking recently at the 2019 ASFA National Policy Roadshow, ATO Deputy Commissioner, Superannuation and Employer Obligations, James O’Halloran said it was an “immediate focus” for the ATO to use the information it now has to reduce the non-payment of Super Guarantee by employers.
“We now have an unprecedented level of visibility of super information at the account and transaction level.”
O’Halloran said, as the ATO becomes more assured of the data and its uses, the tax office will be able to proactivly “nudge” and warn employers – for instance contacting an employer they identify has not having paid the quarterly Super Guarnatee contributions for staff.
“In fact, we recently piloted this approach with a small sample of 85 employers who we contacted regarding their late payment of SG. After our contact, some 50% of these employers then lodged and paid the outstanding SG to the ATO for their employees.”
“We intend to expand this approach to those employers who haven’t paid SG to their employees within 30 days after the end of the reporting quarter.”
“As our confidence in reported data grows, we’ll do more work to identify patterns of late- and non-payment of SG. Our next steps will be to incrementally integrate data analytics tools into our engagement and treatment strategies to address SG non-payment.”
One of the “early intervention and preventative” approaches the ATO has taken is a ‘health check’ done each time a payroll event is processed through Single Touch Payroll. The ATO is able to caculate if the employer may not be correctly calculating the Super Guarantee owing, and intervene.
“We’ll target preventative messaging at those employers or groups previously identified as having issues, providing timely reminders ahead of due dates or to address common problems.”
“Coupled with other initiatives, we’ll be able to bring both active oversight and effective intervention to enforce SG payment and protect employees.”
O’Halloran said the immediate benefit of the new data would be to employers who weren’t being paid their super entitlements, but it would also “ensure a level playing field for business, particularly small business”.
“We recognise most employers do the right thing, but we need to ensure they’re not disadvantaged by those who don’t comply.”