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Raft of superannuation legislation languishing in Senate

Raft of superannuation legislation languishing in Senate

legislation, parliament, Senate
Miranda Brownlee
13 September 2018

A number of bills relating to various superannuation measures have remained stuck in the Senate for some time, in some cases causing uncertainty and confusion for SMSF practitioners, says a lawyer.

Speaking in a webinar, DBA Lawyers special counsel Bryce Figot said there are three different bills relating to the SG regime, non-arm’s length income, LRBAs, single touch payroll and choice of fund which have all remained in the Senate for at least a few months and some since last year.

“[For example], there is meant to be scope to opt out of the SG regime but it’s not law yet and is still sitting in the Senate,” he said.

That particular measure is contained in Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Superannuation Measures No. 1) Bill 2018 along with the measure to include LRBAs amounts in the total superannuation balance, the changes to non-arm’s length income and the government’s controversial SG amnesty measure.

While the bill moved relatively quickly through the lower house, it has remained in the Senate since July.

Mr Figot has previously said that the SG amnesty, which provides employers with a 12-month amnesty period for employers to pay any unpaid superannuation entitlements, is unlikely to be legislated in its current form given that it’s “politically controversial”.

“The SG amnesty is very controversial and I think that’s slowing down all the other measures contained in the same bill,” he said.

Employers planning to use the SG amnesty are in a difficult position, as it is technically only a voluntary disclosure rather than a “specific legal right” until the legislation is passed, Mr Figot explained.

Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No. 4) Bill 2018, which amends taxation legislation in order to extend single touch payroll reporting and require more regulator reporting by superannuation funds, was introduced into the Senate in June and has remained there since.

Treasury Laws Amendment (Improving Accountability and Member Outcomes in Superannuation Measures No. 2) Bill 2017 has remained in the Senate since November last year. This particular bill is aimed at providing employees under workplace determinations or enterprise agreements greater choice of super fund, and removes a loophole used by unscrupulous employers to reduce their mandated superannuation guarantee contributions for employees.

Mr Figot said the measures contained in these two other bills are not controversial and will likely be passed.

“I think it’s just a matter of time,” he said.

Raft of superannuation legislation languishing in Senate
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