Paying the right amount of superannuation to your employees can at times be a complex exercise, with the threshold changes in the recent years and the contribution base which changes every year according to indexation factors. With the rise of the gig economy there’s also a grey area as to whether a certain person working for you is actually an employee or a genuine contractor. Find out what your super obligations are this year.

Are you paying the right amount of superannuation for your employees?

It’s that time of the year again, where the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) release the indexation factors that are critical in determining various superannuation thresholds. While the super guarantee is still frozen at 9.5%, the maximum contribution base will increase to $54,030 per quarter (or $216,120) for 2018-19. Employers are not required to provide the minimum super guarantee for the part of employees’ wages above the maximum contribution base.

Besides the part employees’ wages above $216,120, you as an employer, are required to make minimum contributions of 9.5% of an employee’s ordinary time earnings by quarterly due dates to their nominated superannuation funds if you pay the employee $450 or more (before tax) in a calendar month. This is irrespective of whether an employee is full-time, part-time, casual, a family member, company directors, those who receive a super pension or annuity while still working, or temporary residents.

You should note that the ATO considers certain contractors that are paid mainly for their labour to be employees for super guarantee purposes. This is the case even if the contractor quotes an ABN. According to the ATO, you as an employer must make super guarantee contributions of 9.5% on what you pay your contractors if they are paid:

  • Ÿ  under a verbal or written contract that is wholly or principally for their labour;
  • Ÿ  for their personal labour and skills which may include physical labour, mental effort or artistic effort; or
  • Ÿ  to perform the contract work personally.

If you’re not paying the right amount of super for your employees and some contractors, beware, the ATO uses sophisticated data analytics to identify employers at high risk of non-compliance.

It also takes a differentiated approach to compliance and penalties depending on the compliance history of the employer and how actively they engage to meet their superannuation obligations. Therefore, it pays to be in the good books of the ATO as they may take a more accommodating approach should your business have any discrepancies in super guarantee payment to your employees.

However, employers who are unwilling to meet their super guarantee obligations should expect the ATO to take firm compliance action including the imposition of penalties such as the super guarantee charge, a Part 7 penalty (up to 200%) for late lodgement of the super guarantee statement or failing to provide information when requested, and an administrative penalty (up to 75%) may also apply for an employer who makes a false and misleading statement.

Need help?

If you’re having issues with working out the right super amount to pay to your employees or if you would like to determine whether that person working for you is considered to be an employee or a genuine contractor, we can help. Simply book an appointment or get in contact with us and we will guide you through all your questions to make meeting your obligations simple.

Our firm provides the information in this e-newsletter for general guidance only, and does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal, or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation. Tax articles in this e-newsletter are not intended to be used, and cannot be used by any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding accuracy-related penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. The information is provided “as is,” with no assurance or guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness of the information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.