ATO review to scrutinise real estate businesses over super payments

Real estate businesses will come under scrutiny from the ATO to ensure they are meeting their employee superannuation guarantee obligations.

The ATO’s 2012-13 compliance program identifies real estate businesses, café and restaurant operators and carpenters as the businesses most at risk of non-compliance.

“This year we will review, in focused superannuation guarantee audits, around 400 high risk employers where we find evidence of non-compliance, particularly in the industries where we have previously focused communication activities including cafes and restaurants, real estate businesses [and] carpentry businesses in home building or construction,” says the ATO.

“Employers play a major role in the integrity of the superannuation system by paying superannuation guarantee contributions on behalf of their employees. Where employers fail to pay contributions for eligible employees to nominated funds, they must pay a superannuation guarantee charge to the ATO.”

The ATO makes it clear that it has the technology and access to information to catch out those who are not meeting their super obligations:

“We match information in tax returns and business activity statements with details of transactions reported to us by a wide range of third parties, including:

  • payments and grants by other government agencies
  • payments by businesses to contractors
  • income from investments and partnership and trust distributions
  • property and share transactions n cross-border transactions and international funds transfer.

“This range of information means we can build a complete picture of every business, including income earned, investment details, acquisition or disposal of assets such as real estate, cars and boats, and business connections,” says the ATO.

Super compliance checks of real estate agents will be carried out as part of broader employer obligations reviews involving some 3000 employers.

“We will also check that these employers are complying with their obligation to provide employee tax file numbers to superannuation funds.

“Last year we also followed up complaints about unpaid superannuation with around 12,000 employers, mainly micro enterprises. This year we expect to contact around 13,000 employers regarding complaints about unpaid superannuation,” says the ATO.

This article first appeared on Property Observer.



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