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Superannuation Guarantee Amnesty

The Superannuation Guarantee Amnesty was introduced on 24 May 2018 by the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services in a bid to tackle non-payment of employee super.

The Amnesty provides a one-off opportunity for employers to self-correct any past super guarantee (SG) non-compliance without incurring a penalty. However, there is a lot of ambiguity around which employees are entitled to compulsory super payments.

Small business employers need to pay special attention to these particular areas:

Ordinary time earnings
An understanding of ordinary time earnings (OTE) is essential as it is used to calculate tan eligible employees minimum SG contributions. OTE is generally what your employees earn for their ordinary hours of work. It includes things like commissions, shift loadings and allowances, but not overtime payments. The SG is 9.5 per cent of an eligible employees ordinary time earnings (OTE).

If you make super contributions under an award, check that they are enough to satisfy both the award and the SG. Issues can occur where an agreement prevails over an award, no ordinary hours of work are stipulated, where an employee gets reimbursed, there is no award or agreements and where overtime is paid the same as ordinary hours.

Contractors
So you think you do not need to pay contractors super? Think again. Some contractors may be entitled to super.

The ATO also sees cases where employers classify employees as contractors, and consequently, forgo paying their super. If you are unsure of whether a worker is a contractor or employee, or if you unsure if your contractors are entitled to super, seek professional advice.

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News

Protect yourself from early super release scams

August 7, 2018

When it comes to protecting your nest egg, avoid getting caught out by a promoter of an illegal early release super scheme.

Early release super scheme scams will involve a promoter contacting you and offering to help you access your super early. They usually target individuals under significant financial pressure or those who are not knowledgeable about super laws and the repercussions and penalties involved in illegally accessing your super.

You can only access your super when you meet a condition of release.

Generally, when you:
– Are 65 years old (even if you have not yet retired).
– Reach your preservation age and retire.
– Reach your preservation age and begin a transition to retirement income stream while still working.

There are special circumstances where you may be able to access your super early.

These special circumstances include:
– Severe financial hardship
– Temporary or permanent incapacity
– Compassionate grounds
– Temporary residents leaving Australia
– Super death benefits (inheriting super)
– Super less than $200
– Terminal medical condition

To avoid falling for an illegal early super release scam, be wary if the promoter:
– charges high fees and commissions;
– requests identity documents;
– claims you can access your super and put the funds towards whatever you wish;
– and tries to persuade you to transfer or rollover your super from your existing fund to a self-managed super fund (SMSF) in order to access your super before you are legally entitled.