ATO unmoved on SG amnesty deadline
The Australian Taxation Office has confirmed that it cannot change the deadline for the superannuation guarantee amnesty despite concerns that businesses will not be able to come forward during an economic downturn.
The SG amnesty is currently running to a six-month deadline to 7 September 2020, with the law requiring employers to disclose historical SG non-compliance by the deadline to qualify for the beneficial treatment of the amnesty.
The amnesty will allow employers to claim tax deductions for payments of SG charge or contributions made during the amnesty period to offset SG charge, as well as remove the administrative component and the Part 7 penalty that may otherwise apply in relation to SG non-compliance.
The profession has now called for the amnesty period to be extended, arguing that it has now encountered its “worst-case scenario” in coinciding with the coronavirus-induced downturn.
In response, the ATO has now confirmed that it cannot deviate from legislation but will be looking to work with businesses who disclose to establish a payment plan to pay their liability.
While payment plans can be extended to beyond 7 September, the ATO noted that only payments made by the deadline will be deductible.
“We understand you may wish to apply for the superannuation guarantee amnesty and may be concerned that, as a result of COVID-19, your circumstances may change and you will not be able to pay the liability,” the ATO said in an online update.
“We acknowledge the difficult times the community has been experiencing recently with COVID-19 and the 2019–20 bushfires; however, the law does not allow us to vary the due date for lodgement of an amnesty application.
“We will work with you to establish a payment plan that is flexible to help you to continue making payments.
“If, after we work with you, you are unable to maintain payments, the law requires us to disqualify you from the amnesty and remove the amnesty benefits.”
The ATO noted that any disqualification after 7 September will only apply to unpaid quarters, with a business’s circumstances to be reviewed to determine if a Part 7 penalty will be applied.