AUSTRALIA - The Senate has rejected the government's plan to remove quarterly reporting of superannuation contributions and instead agreed to an amendment to allow for a simplified reporting mechanism through payslips.
The Tax Laws Amendment (Superannuation Reporting) Bill 2004 would have abolished quarterly reporting of superannuation contributions by employers, with effect from January 1. The amendment aimed to reduce the burden on employers who hire casual and itinerant workers.
But Democrats superannuation spokesperson Senator John Cherry (pictured) said quarterly reporting was essential to reduce the incidence of lost accounts.
“If the Superannuation Choice of Funds regime is to be fully effective, employees need to know where their superannuation is being paid,” he said.
“Without that, the Choice regime will not deliver the control and ownership of superannuation by employees that it promises.”
Under the new amendment, reporting must be recorded on pay slips. Cherry said the move would reduce compliance costs for small business and ensure employees get the information they need.
The Senate decision went against the recommendation of the Senate Economics Committee, which looked into the provisions of the Bill.
In its report, the committee recommended the Bill be passed without amendment, noting that while there would be “some reduction” in the amount of information available to employees, reporting of contributions would still be available through the requirement for funds to report annually on payments received.
The committee received seven submissions on the government proposal with the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) and the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) strongly opposed and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and other employer representative groups expressing strong support.
Quarterly reporting of super was introduced by the government with Labor and Democrat support in 2002. The government announced its intention to remove the requirement last July.
Labor backed the Democrat amendment, which will now be considered by the House of Representatives.
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