Superannuation Guarantee Contributors as a Tax: The Case for Reincarnation over Reform

Australian Tax Forum, Vol. 33, No. 4 (2018)

U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 800

37 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2018

See all articles by Helen L. Anderson

Helen L. Anderson

Melbourne Law School

Tess Hardy

University of Melbourne - Law School

Date Written: December 11, 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.

Keywords: superannuation, tax,

JEL Classification: K00, K31

Suggested Citation

Anderson, Helen L. and Hardy, Tess, Superannuation Guarantee Contributors as a Tax: The Case for Reincarnation over Reform (December 11, 2018). Australian Tax Forum, Vol. 33, No. 4 (2018); U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 800. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3299216

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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