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ATO warns of fines for fraudulent early access of super

July 7th, 2020

Coinciding with the start of stage two of the temporary early release of superannuation scheme, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has warned it will fine people who deliberately misuse the system to access their retirement savings early.

The ATO published a new COVID-19 early release of super – integrity and compliance webpage last week. This explains that it will check claims made against the eligibility criteria and a number of its data sources, including Single Touch Payroll (STP), income tax returns, and information reported by super funds.

The behaviours that the ATO says will attract its attention include:

  • applying for early release when there is no change to your regular salary and wage, or employment information
  • misrepresenting your work and finances details to meet the eligibility criteria
  • making false statements or fraudulent attempts to meet the eligibility criteria
  • withdrawing and recontributing super for a tax advantage.

The ATO has also updated its early release web content with compliance information stating that those who provide false or misleading information could face penalties of more than $12,000 for each false and misleading statement.

If the ATO has approved an early release payment and you change your mind about needing it and want to repay that amount to your First Super account, this will be counted as a personal superannuation contribution. You need to be aware that any tax benefit related to the deduction of this early release amount from your super balance or from repaying this money into your super account could be cancelled if the ATO considers this was done to obtain a tax benefit.

If you have received an early release of super payment and do not believe you’re eligible, you should contact the ATO directly on 13 10 20 as soon as possible to discuss your situation.

You can find information on the temporary early release of super scheme, including fact sheets in four languages, on our dedicated webpage – firstsuper.com.au/temp-early-access.