Superannuation 2018

Superannuation guarantee contributions as a tax: The case for reincarnation over reform

Source: Australian Tax Forum Journal Article

Published Date: 1 Sep 2018


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.

Author Profile
Tess Hardy
Author Profile
Helen Anderson

Sorry, this is subscriber only content.

To gain access to this material and much more - Subscribe Now.

(Note: Members can access Taxation in Australia journal articles without a Tax Knowledge Exchange subscription - please log in to access).

Already a Subscriber? Login now

Already a Subscriber? Login now


The material is copyright. Apart any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research criticism or review, as permitted under the copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission from The Tax Institute.

Unless expressly stated, opinions are not that of The Tax Institute, which accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of any of the information contained within it.

The Tax Institute
(ABN 45 008 392 372 (PRV14016))


The Tax Institute is a Recognised Tax Agent Association (RTAA) under the Tax Agent Services Regulations 2009. 

Copyright Statement

All materials provided on this site are protected by copyright and are owned by or licensed to TTI.

Except as expressly permitted by TTI or the copyright owner, any person or company who uses this site must not use, reproduce, redistribute, retransmit, publish or otherwise transfer, or commercially exploit, the materials or any information, software or other content, in whole or in part, which is available through this site.


Superannuation 2018

Share this page