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Here’s What Businesses Need To Know About Their Super Guarantee Obligations

It is easy to get caught out with superannuation, particularly when you are the owner of a business. With so many things to occupy your mind, superannuation may slip from the forefront.

But as a business owner, you must pay the superannuation guarantee for your staff, and you must pay it on time. A failure to pay it on time will mean that you are no longer able to receive a tax deduction for the payment for that financial year. 

On top of that, you can face hefty penalties (which you won’t get a tax deduction for either!). Now imagine being five days late on a $10,000 super payment, losing the tax deduction on that payment and then copping a $20,000 penalty as well. 

The first thing is to make sure that your super is paid well before the time it is due. This should be a priority payment (a payment that you make before anything else).

As the end of the financial year approaches, it is time to be thinking about the June Super Guarantee payment. You may have until July 28 to make the payment but leaving it until then will not net you a tax deduction until the next financial year. From a tax perspective, this may not be what you want to do (unless you know that in the next year, you will need more tax deductions).

Superannuation also has a few strange rules when it comes to claiming a tax deduction.  For employee superannuation, it is critical that it is paid on time.  More than that, the money has to actually be in the bank account of the super fund for you to claim a tax deduction.  

Unlike other expenses where you can show the money coming out of your bank account, this money needs to be present in your super fund for you to make the claim. If your super guarantee payment hits the bank account of the super fund on June 30th then you can claim a tax deduction for that year.  If, however, it hits the bank account on July 1st then the tax deduction is claimed in the financial year after.

Problems arise when you are paying your super through a clearing house, which takes a number of days to clear your payment and get it to the super fund. For example, you may pay the clearing house on the 25th of June, but your super fund does not receive it into their bank account until the 1st of July. 

The ATO’s Small Business Superannuation Clearing House usually has some concessions in these instances.

If you want to get a tax deduction for your June Super Guarantee payment, you need to work out with your clearing house the latest day that they can guarantee that the super fund will then receive the payment this financial year.  Some of these clearinghouses are quoting that you should be paying as early as the 14th of June.

Finally, with regards to Super Guarantee, remember that the rate increases to 10.5% from 1st July.  This rate applies to wages paid on or after July 1st so make sure your payroll system either automatically updates the rate or that you have updated it to reflect the increase.

Employers who fail to meet their Super Guarantee obligations may also be liable for a range of penalties or charges on top of the super guarantee charge. 

Paying super is an important part of being an employer. To ensure your business remains compliant, remember to: 

  • pay the right amount (9.5 per cent) of employee ordinary time earnings until 1 July 2022 (when it will rise to 10.5
  • pay on-time
  • pay the right way and
  • keep records to show you have met your obligations

If you’re someone who often finds it difficult to make large lump sum payments for goods or services, you may want to consider looking into “Buy Now Pay Later” services.

Buy now pay later essentially means that, rather than paying in a full lump sum payment for a product or services rendered, there may be an option to pay through instalments of a certain amount over a set period to make the sum of the full amount in total. This method should allow you to pay in full for the product or service without overly straining your finances – you pay back what you can, as agreed upon when you begin the buy now pay later service.

Some popular buy now pay later services include Afterpay, Zip Pay, Brightepay, and some credit card networks such as  Mastercard and Visa, can offer buy now pay later arrangements.

Though it can be a convenient, immediate solution, it may be challenging to juggle the necessary repayments with other financial commitments. It’s not always the most appropriate method for people, and you should bear in mind your situation and ability in paying back the amounts. 

Before you sign up, keep in mind: 

  • It becomes easier to overspend with buy now pay later services, so know your limits on what you can and can’t afford.
  • You will be charged fees and costs to use the service, which can add up to a princely sum in and of itself.
  • Keeping track of your payments can be tricky if you’ve signed up for multiple services.
  • It could affect your loan applications for a car or mortgage as lenders consider buy now pay later spending just as much as your credit score.
  • Late repayments can appear on your credit report, which affects your ability to borrow money in the future.
  • Layby can be a cheaper alternative to buy now pay later, with no account-keeping or late fees to consider

If you are someone who could make use of BNPL services, you may wish to:

  • Ensure that when using the BNPL service, you stick to a set limit on what you spend so that you can comfortably pay it back later. 
  • Aim only to have one BNPL account at a time to manage payments through, rather than confuse yourself with multiple payments across different providers.
  • Always budget for bills, loan payments and BNPL payments, and 
  • Rather than use your credit card for payments to your BNPL account, consider linking to your debit account instead.

If you would like assistance in planning your financial future, help in managing your budget or some friendly advice, see us for a chat about what we can do for you.

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Jane Noller has been my accountant for the last 15 plus years. I can testify to Jane’s professionalism and expeditious manner in dealing with the day to day issues that surrounds our business accounting.

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