Employer Obligations

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1 Employer Obligations Superannuation The information contained in this booklet is a brief summary of superannuation and the issues that arise regarding it from an employer s perspective. For more detailed advice or any queries please contact your accountant. Table of Contents What is the superannuation guarantee?... 2 Who is eligible for super?... 2 How much super should I pay to my employees?... 2 What are ordinary time earnings?... 3 When do I pay super contributions?... 3 Are super contributions tax deductible?... 3 Do I have to pay super for contractors?... 4 Who is not eligible for super?... 4 Do I have to pay super for employees who are temporary residents in Australia?... 4 Super for the self-employed... 4 Setting up super for a worker... 4 Records you need to keep... 5 What you must do if you haven t met your obligations... 6 Changes to superannuation obligations in the future... 8 Changes to the super guarantee rate... 8 Removal of super guarantee upper age limit... 9 MySuper... 9 Data and e-commerce standard... 10

2 What is the superannuation guarantee? As an employer, you are required to pay super contributions on behalf of all your eligible employees. These contributions are in addition to your employees salaries and wages. This compulsory contribution is called the superannuation guarantee, and it requires you to: pay super for your eligible employees contribute to the correct super funds pay contributions by the cut off date each quarter. You are also required to offer your eligible employees a choice of super fund. Who is eligible for super? Generally, you have to pay super for your employees if they: are between 18 and less than 70 years old are paid $450 or more (before tax) in salary or wages in a calendar month work full-time, part-time or on a casual basis. How much super should I pay to my employees? You need to pay a minimum of 9% of each eligible employee s ordinary time earnings. This means the amount they earn for their ordinary hours of work, up to the maximum contribution base for a quarter. Example During the second quarter of the financial year (1 October to 31 December 2009) Troy s ordinary time earnings were $8,000. The minimum super contribution Troy s employer must pay for Troy for the second quarter of is worked out below. Earning base for the quarter x Super guarantee charge % = Minimum super contribution for the quarter $8,000 x 9% = $720 2

3 What are ordinary time earnings? Ordinary time earnings (OTE) are what your employees earn for their ordinary hours of work. OTE include: over-award payments bonuses commissions allowances Employers must use OTE to calculate the minimum super guarantee contributions required for their eligible employees. This helps to ensure all eligible employees are treated the same for super guarantee purposes. When do I pay super contributions? You have to pay super for eligible employees from the first day you employ them. These super contributions have to be paid for each eligible employee to the correct super fund at least four times a year, by the quarterly cut-off dates shown below. Quarter Period Payment cut-off date 1 1 July - 30 September 28 October 2 1 October - 31 December 28 January 3 1 January - 31 March 28 April 4 1 April - 30 June 28 July When a cut-off date for payment falls on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday, you can make the payment on the next working day after the cut-off date. It s important to pay the correct amount of super by the cut-off date each quarter to avoid paying the superannuation guarantee charge to us. Are super contributions tax deductible? In most cases, super contributions are tax deductible only in the financial year you pay them. You cannot claim a tax deduction for the super guarantee charge (this is the penalty imposed if you fail to meet your super obligations). 3

4 Do I have to pay super for contractors? If you hire your contractors under a contract that is principally for labour, you have to pay super for them - even if the contractor quotes an Australian business number (ABN). These contractors are considered your employees for super guarantee purposes. Who is not eligible for super? There are some employees who may be exempt from receiving super contributions - for example: employees paid less than $450 (before tax) in a calendar month employees under 18 years of age and working 30 hours or less per week. Do I have to pay super for employees who are temporary residents in Australia? If your temporary resident employees meet the superannuation guarantee criteria, you have to make super contributions for them. Super for the self-employed If you re a sole trader or a partner in a partnership, you don t have to make super contributions to a super fund for yourself. However, you may want to consider super as a way of saving for your retirement. Most self-employed people can claim a full deduction for contributions they make to their super until age 75. Keep in mind that contributions you make may be subject to extra tax if they exceed the contributions limit for that year. You may also be eligible for the super co-contribution payment. The super cocontribution helps eligible low- to middle-income earners save for their retirement. If you re eligible and you make personal super contributions, the government will match your contribution with a co-contribution up to certain limits. Setting up super for a worker Offering your employees a choice of super fund Many employees are entitled to choose the super fund their employer super 4

5 contributions are paid into. You need to: identify your eligible employees provide a Standard choice form to employees who are eligible to choose a super fund nominate a default fund act on your employee s choice. Where to pay super contributions To meet your super obligations, you must pay your contributions to a complying super fund or retirement savings account (RSA). You can check that a super fund is complying by using the online Super Funds Lookup, or by getting confirmation from the fund s trustee. If you have award obligations to make super contributions into a specified fund or RSA, these contributions will usually count towards meeting your super guarantee obligations. If you have fewer than 20 employees, you may also be eligible to use the free Small Business Superannuation Clearing House service administered by the Department of Human Services. Tax file numbers If a new employee tells you their tax file number (TFN) by completing a Tax file number declaration form, you need to pass their TFN on to their super fund. There are penalties if you don t. Salary sacrificing super You can arrange with an employee to sacrifice part of their salary or wages into super. Records you need to keep You can use whichever method suits you best to keep records of your super guarantee payments and choice of fund obligations. However, the following limitations apply: your records must be written in English (or in a format that can be easily accessed and converted into written English) you must keep your super records for five years if you keep electronic records, software must be available to access older floppy disks, CDs and computer records. 5

6 Even if you use a clearing house to distribute super to your employees funds, you re still responsible for keeping adequate records of super guarantee payments. You must keep: records showing the amount of super you paid for each employee any documents that helped you calculate the amount of super you paid. You must keep records to show you have offered your eligible employees a choice of super fund Tax law doesn t require you to report to your employees about the super contributions made on their behalf, but you might like to do so anyway. Some workplace legislation, awards or agreements may require that you report super contributions on payslips. This applies especially to companies under the Fair Work Act. What you must do if you haven t met your obligations If you haven t met your super obligations as an employer, you have to lodge a Superannuation guarantee charge statement - quarterly (NAT 9599) and pay a superannuation guarantee charge. You ll have to do this if you: don t pay enough super contributions (at least 9% of ordinary time earnings) for your employee - this is called a super guarantee shortfall don t pay super contributions by the quarterly cut-off date for payment don t pay super to your employee s chosen super fund - this is called a choice liability. The super guarantee charge is made up of the super guarantee shortfall amounts (including any choice liability), interest at 10% per annum, and an administration fee of $20 per employee per quarter. Also, your business might lose the tax deduction it would normally get. The super guarantee charge is not tax deductible and neither are most late payments. What you must do You ll have to: complete a Superannuation guarantee charge statement - quarterly work out the amount of super guarantee charge to pay 6

7 pay the super guarantee charge to us by the due date for the relevant quarter. If you ve paid a late contribution If you pay a super contribution to a super fund after the cut-off date, you may be able to use this late payment as an offset to reduce the amount of super guarantee charge you pay. You must still lodge a Superannuation guarantee charge statement - quarterly and pay the balance of the super guarantee charge. Director penalties Company directors have a legal responsibility to ensure that their company meets its superannuation guarantee charge (SGC) obligations. The director of a company that fails to meet an SGC liability in full by the due date automatically becomes personally liable for a penalty equal to the unpaid amount. Other penalties As well as the super guarantee charge, there are several other penalties and charges that might apply, depending on your circumstances. For example, penalties apply if you: don t keep proper records make false or misleading statements, or enter into arrangements designed to avoid your super obligations. Amendments and objections The ATO treat your Superannuation guarantee charge statement - quarterly as an assessment. Like any assessment, you can ask for it to be amended or object to it. 7

8 Super obligations for employers in the future will be changing as the Australian Government introduces new measures to help protect and grow savings of all Australians. Changes to the super guarantee rate To help grow Australian workers' savings for retirement, the compulsory super guarantee rate will gradually increase from 9% to 12%. When you make super payments on behalf of your employees based on the minimum 9% super guarantee rate, you will need to increase this rate on which you base your calculations to 9.25% on 1 July The super guarantee rate increases to 12% over seven years, as shown in the table below. Year Rate Current rate 9.00% 1 July % 1 July % 1 July % 1 July % 1 July % 1 July % 1 July 2019 and onwards 12.00% What you need to do Update your payroll and accounting systems to apply the appropriate increase to the super guarantee rate. From 1 July 2013, increase the rate you use to work out the super guarantee payments you make for your employees from 9% to 9.25%. Continue to increase the rate you use to work out the super guarantee payments you make for your employees each year until 1 July If you have 19 or fewer employees, consider using the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House (see Data and e-commerce standard further on) to help you meet your super guarantee obligations. 8

9 Removal of super guarantee upper age limit From 1 July 2013, there is no upper age limit for making super guarantee contributions for an employee. Removal of the limit is to encourage mature workers to stay in the workforce. This means you may need to make super guarantee payments for eligible employees aged 70 years or over. What you need to do Check if you have any employees 70 years or over who may be eligible to have super payments made to a fund by you. For those employees who are eligible, arrange to pay super contributions into their chosen fund from 1 July MySuper MySuper is a new, simple and cost-effective super product that will replace existing default products. What does MySuper mean for employers? All employers have a nominated super fund, or default fund, where they make super guarantee payments for employees who have not selected a preferred fund (by completing a choice of fund form). From 1 January 2014, employers must make these contributions to a fund that offers a MySuper product. Existing superannuation funds will be able to apply to APRA to offer a MySuper product. Super funds are allowed to start offering MySuper products from 1 July What you need to do: For almost all employers, it is expected that their existing default fund will offer a MySuper product - these employers will not have to make any change to the payment of superannuation guarantee contributions. Your fund should contact you to provide you with information to transition from existing arrangements. 9

10 Data and e-commerce standard A new data and e-commerce standard is being introduced to make it possible for you to send contributions to all funds in one standard electronic format. In future, you will no longer need to provide this information to separate funds in different formats. The standard will make processing super guarantee payments easier and result in: fewer data-quality issues a simpler, more consistent contribution process fewer lost accounts and unclaimed monies faster processing of employees money into their super accounts lower overall processing costs. Employers with 20 or more employees must use the data and e-commerce standard from 1 July Employers with 19 or fewer employees must start using the standard from 1 July What you need to do If you prefer to process your super contributions for staff yourself, you can work with your default super fund or payroll supplier to meet the new data and e-commerce standard. Other partners, including accountants and clearing houses, will be able to help as well. Businesses with 20 or more employees must start using the new standard from 1 July If you think your business will need to update software or systems, you should start planning now - these changes may need to be considered now in order to be ready on time. If you are a small business with 19 or fewer employees, the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House is available to help you meet your super guarantee obligations. Head Office l Toowoomba Opening Hours l 8:00am - 5:00pm Monday - Friday 619 Ruthven Street l PO Box 3178 l Toowoomba l QLD l 4350 phone l l fax l 10

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