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Are we ready to take advantage of Superannuation Guarantee Amnesty?

Updated: Mar 4


Caroline Thurairatnam

Payroll Transformation Leader

The Superannuation Guarantee (SG) Amnesty Bill passed the House of Representatives on 28th Nov 2019. It has now moved to the Senate. The SG amnesty will run for six months

starting from the day after the Bill receives royal assent. The bill provides for a one-off amnesty to employers to self-correct historical SG non-compliance.


Employers will have the following concessions during the Amnesty period.

  • Removal of the $20 ATO Admin fee per employee per quarter

  • SG charge payment will be income tax-deductible

However, employers will still need to pay the short fall of the SG plus the 10% interest to the employee’s superannuation account.

After the SG Amnesty period, the concessions will be removed and higher penalties (up to 200%) will be applied.

What do Payroll Leaders need to do?

I suggest acting on this sooner rather than later to maximize the opportunity and having more time to manage unseen complexities.

  • Discussing this with your managers and directors to ensure that they understand the Amnesty Bill and the impact on payroll/for the company.

  • Start reviewing the Pay codes/elements and checking whether they are OTE and SGC payable elements.

  • Understand why we use these pay elements, know how it was stated in the EBA, Award and individual Contracts. Ensuring these payments are interpreted correctly.

  • Review the pay elements/superannuation configurations.

  • If you have any difficulty in determining the reason for pay elements, please reach out to experts. E.g. IR Team, Payroll Associations (TAPS/APA), one of the four big auditors.

  • Check whether the payroll system is configured to apply the minimum and maximum SG contribution caps and the under 18 SG contribution limitation. Please note some companies pay super on all allowances and have no limitation on super contributions to make it easy.

  • Review the Salary sacrifice contributions that impact on SG contribution - Salary sacrifice arrangement will not reduce and/or satisfy an employer’s mandated Superannuation Guarantee (SG) contributions from 1 January 2020. https://www.ato.gov.au/General/New-legislation/In-detail/Super/Superannuation-Guarantee---Salary-sacrifice-integrity/

  • Review the last 4 quarter SG payments vs OTE – minimum 9.5% super applied – high level review

  • Report this high-level review outcome to your leaders - ensure payroll has the resources to complete any short fall SG calculations within 6 months, ensuring enough time to avoid any penalties.

  • Establish a 4-6 month project plan incase the issues are bigger than normal BAU tasks.

  • Establish SG payroll controls and have a quarterly review before SG payments.

  • By the 1st April you need to ensure you have myGovID to lodge the SG Charges instead of Auskey.

  • If you find any major underpayments, then it is recommended to review the data for the past 7 years.

  • Record-keeping and regular payroll audit controls are essential in Payroll Function!

About the Author

This blog was written by Caroline Thurairatnam. You can contact Caroline via her LinkedIn page.

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