Superannuation Guarantee Contributions as a Tax: The Case for Reincarnation Over Reform

36 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2018

See all articles by Helen L. Anderson

Helen L. Anderson

Melbourne Law School

Tess Hardy

University of Melbourne - Law School

Date Written: May 6, 2018

Abstract

The superannuation guarantee charge, which aims to ensure that employers pay compulsory superannuation for their employees, is collected as a tax. This method of collection has advantages because it covers a range of workplaces and types of businesses, including where the workers are outside of the conventional notion of employment. However, despite this, unpaid superannuation guarantee obligations remain a significant concern for government, superannuation funds, trade unions and workers themselves. Attempts to improve recovery — both legislative and procedural — have arguably been tinkering around the edges of a fundamentally misconceptualised scheme. This article suggests an alternative approach which utilises the collection mechanisms of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and the worker‑focused Fair Work Ombudsman as the primary agency overseeing superannuation collection. This would see superannuation recast as “deferred wages”, recoverable in the same way as other employee entitlements. While a further referral of powers from the states to the federal government would be required — or perhaps a constitutional amendment — the article argues that reincarnating the superannuation guarantee in this way could significantly improve recovery for the benefit of workers.

Suggested Citation

Anderson, Helen L. and Hardy, Tess, Superannuation Guarantee Contributions as a Tax: The Case for Reincarnation Over Reform (May 6, 2018). Australian Tax Forum, Vol. 33(3), 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3254057

Helen L. Anderson (Contact Author)

Melbourne Law School ( email )

University of Melbourne
Melbourne, 3010
Australia
+61 3 90355467 (Phone)

Tess Hardy

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

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