Budget needs to clarify Super Guarantee amnesty: accountants

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Australia’s largest two accounting bodies have called for the Government’s proposed Super Guarantee amnesty to be clarified in the upcoming Federal Budget.

Last May the Government announced the intention to legislate a 12 month amnesty for employers who hadn’t paid their Super Guarantee obligations for their workers. If it was legislated – which it hasn’t yet been – the amnesty would run from 24 May 2018 to 23 May 2019. There are now only a couple of Parliamentary sitting days before the expected calling of the election.

The Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand (CAANZ) note that the measure has stalled in the Senate. The Bill which would implement the measure, the Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Superannuation Measures No. 1) Bill 2018, was last debated in June 2018.

CAANZ says it has made representations to the Labor Party asking that it support the amnesty. But the accounting body also said – prior to the Parliamentary sittings in February – that “hopefully the… Bill will be passed in the limited sitting time available before the Budget is delivered”.

“If not, the Budget should include clarification of the status of the amnesty and whether the timeframe will be extended in the hope that legislative support occurs after the Federal Election”.

Only two scheduled Senate sitting days remain before the likely calling of the election.

Labor is opposed to the amnesty, with Labor Senators on a committee inquiring into the Bill recommending that it be removed.

“Labor Senators strongly dispute the need for an amnesty for unpaid superannuation guarantee (SG) entitlements. The inquiry uncovered a distinct lack of stakeholder advocacy for the amnesty as well as concerns that the amnesty could even be counterproductive to broader compliance efforts,” said the dissenting report from the Labor Senators.

CPA Australia has recommended, if the Government is going to proceed with the policy, that the end date be extended to 30 June 2020, “given the protracted period of uncertainty without enacted law”.

The 2019/20 Federal Budget will be released on Tuesday April 2.

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