ATO’s Superannuation Amnesty and Crackdown: Is your business at risk?

21 AUG 2020


The Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) amnesty on superannuation liabilities will soon end on 7 September 2020. What does this mean for your business, and can you take advantage of the amnesty?

After a recent flood in underpayments by large Australian corporations such as Woolworths, Bunnings, Commonwealth Bank and Coles to name a few, the ATO has estimated that a figure of around $2.3 billion remains outstanding from employees’ superannuation accounts.

The ATO’s superannuation guarantee amnesty is a one off opportunity for companies and businesses to correct any superannuation failures they have made in the past. Businesses have until 7 September 2020 to disclose and lodge any unpaid superannuation that is owing to their employees.

What does the Amnesty mean?

Under the amnesty, employers who have missed superannuation payments or have failed to make payments to their employees as required under law, have until 7 September 2020 to lodge these payments with the ATO without any further penalty.

The amnesty period covers any superannuation shortfalls from between 1 July 1992 and 31 March 2018.

Penalties for failing to pay superannuation

The ATO takes breaches of superannuation seriously, and the substantial penalties they hand down to companies can cause real concerns for liquidity and solvency. Failure to pay fines to the ATO could lead to adverse action being taken, such as a winding up application being brought to liquidate and wind up the business.

What does this mean for your business?

If, during the course of your business, you have missed superannuation payments to your employees during the above time period (being from 1 July 1992 to 31 March 2018), you should make urgent note of any missed superannuation payments and apply to the ATO to have that superannuation paid per the amnesty to possibly avoid any further penalties.

The amnesty was implemented to encourage employers to come forward and make any missed payments to their employees without the fear of a hefty penalty being applied.

Now would be an opportunistic time to review all your superannuation accounting records to ensure that superannuation payments have been made in accordance with the required law and no superannuation payments have been missed.

What Marsdens can do for you

If you are aware of superannuation shortfalls that you have failed to pay, or would like tailored advice regarding superannuation obligations owing to your employees, please contact Aaran Johnson on or Simon Kumar on or by phoning 02 4626 5077 to discuss and see how we can assist.

The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.

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