Employee super guarantee contributions due
The ATO has reminded employers that employee super guarantee (SG) contributions for the quarter ending 31 March 2023 were due by 28 April. It also emphasised that if they didn’t pay the correct amount of SG on time, they will need to pay the SG charge (SGC) and also (a) lodge an SGC statement to the ATO by 28 May to disclose all missed or late super contributions even if they can’t pay by the due date, and (b) pay the SGC to ATO, or contact the ATO to set up a payment arrangement. Finally, the ATO warned that employers don’t lodge their SGC statement by the due date, they can face an additional penalty of up to 200% of the SGC.

CPI for March 2023 quarter
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) number for the March 2023 quarter. It is 132.6. (Note that, among other things, the CPI number is used for indexation in a range of taxation matters, including the luxury car limit, the CGT improvement threshold, the several dependant tax offsets).

Standalone Privacy Commissioner
Yesterday, the Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus announced the appointment of a standalone Privacy Commissioner to combat the growing threats to data security and the increasing volume and complexity of privacy issues. The appointment follows the various recent data breaches which have seen sensitive personal information of millions of Australians being exposed to the risk of identity fraud and scams.

SMSF auditor disqualified after receiving impermissible payments as SMSF member
The AAT has affirmed the Commissioner’s decision that a registered tax agent and chartered accountant (the applicant) failed to discharge his onus of proving that assessments of payments from his SMSF were excessive.

The applicant was a director of a group of businesses. In February 2010, the applicant established an SMSF and received superannuation contributions from a company that was owned and operated by the applicant. Eight months after the SMSF was established, the applicant decided to terminate his own employment from his company at 47 years of age and commenced receiving payments from the SMSF. The applicant relied on the “termination of gainful employment” condition of release and applied to the Trustee of the SMSF (also himself) to commence a tax-free “non-commutable lifetime pension”. During 2010 and 2011, the company contributed $20,000 to the SMSF for the applicant and the applicant contributed $542,547 as personal contributions. The SMSF made $819,136 in benefit payments to the applicant between 2011 and 2016, including $213,569 for 2015 and $367,892 for 2016. The SMSF was wound up in December 2018.

In 2019, the Commissioner commenced an audit of the applicant’s tax affairs. The applicant was disqualified from being a trustee of the fund and disqualified from being an SMSF auditor for other SMSFs. The Tax Practitioners Board also terminated the applicant’s individual tax agent registration. The Commissioner ruled that payments made to the applicant from the SMSF did not meet a condition of release and the superannuation benefits the applicant received from the SMSF for 2015 and 2016 would be included in his assessable income under s304-10 of ITAA97.

Notices of amended assessment were then issued to the applicant for $226,787 tax payable for the 2015 financial year and for $186,622 tax payable for the 2016 financial year. The Commissioner also imposed a shortfall interest penalty of $99,040 for 2015 and $80,621 for 2016 for making false and misleading statements. The AAT affirmed the Commissioner’s decisions in relation to the amended assessments, the imposition of penalties and the disqualification of the applicant from being a trustee of a fund (WZWK v FC of T [2023] AATA 872, 26 April 2023).