Owners of real estate businesses have no excuse if they are caught by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for failing to pay superannuation contributions on time, an industry super fund group has warned.
REI Super CEO Mal Smith told Real Estate Business he had come across a number of real estate agencies who had failed to pay their super on time or did not pay it at all.
“There really is no excuse for non-compliance,” he said. “Real estate employers have available to them a number of resources to assist in understanding and meeting their obligations. REI Super’s website, employer organisations, and the ATO all offer information to assist employers.”
Mr Smith said it was a critically important issue as directors were personally liable for superannuation guarantee (SG) compliance.
“The amount of the penalty may be the amount of the company’s SG charge, in addition to making these payments to staff owed these monies. Importantly, the directors’ liability cannot be avoided by placing the company into administration, or even by winding-up the company,” he said.
Mr Smith explained that a company’s SG charge was treated as payable on the day the employer was required to lodge their SG statement for the quarter to the ATO.
“This means existing directors are liable to a director penalty at the end of the lodgement day. In addition, other penalties and interest payments are liable to be paid by the business to the ATO on top of the contribution amount itself," he warned.
“These requirements are all fairly simple to follow and need not be onerous, as long as businesses seek out the appropriate professional advice, such as from their industry super fund.”
Last week, Real Estate Business reported the ATO would be scrutinising a number of industries, including real estate, where there had been evidence of non-compliance in paying superannuation contributions.
“We will also check these employers are complying with their obligation to provide employee tax file numbers to superannuation funds,” the ATO said.
“Last year, we also followed up complaints about unpaid superannuation with around 12,000 employers, mainly micro enterprises. This year, we expect to contact around 13,000 employers regarding complaints about unpaid superannuation.”
The ATO has said it will regulate businesses using its data matching capabilities to identify any employers that fail to meet their obligations.