Say goodbye to group certificates for good as tax turns digital
May 7, 2019

Tax time is coming, but one thing that’s going is your annual payment summary, still commonly known as a group certificate.

As the Australian Taxation Office embraces new technologies, payment summaries are being phased out and replaced by digital reporting of tax and superannuation.

It means bosses who forget or refuse to pay billions of dollars a year in super to their workers will be quickly caught out.


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Tax and superannuation reporting is going digital. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

The ATO’s new Single Touch Payroll system, which enables real-time payday reporting, extends to all employers from July 1 after starting for large companies last year.

ATO assistant commissioner John Shepherd said the new system was “a real game changer in terms of the visibility it creates.”

“We expect by July that around nine million employees will be having their information reported to us each payday,” he said.

Employers show workers their super guarantee payments on each pay slip, but this doesn’t mean that they have sent the money to the super fund.

The ATO already monitors and displays super fund data and makes it available on its MyGov website, so it will be able to match the employer’s reported payments with what the super fund receives.

“We will remind employers who are late that they have to pay,” Mr Shepherd said.

“Each year there’s a $2.8 billion super guarantee gap that we believe employees miss out on.”

MBA Financial Strategists principal Mark Borg said the phasing out of payment summaries meant workers would no longer have to wait to do their tax. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

The new digital tax and super reporting system makes it no longer compulsory for employers to provide annual payment summaries in paper form in early July.

“I find it funny that after 19 years people still call it a group certificate. It was changed in the year 2000 to payment summary,” Mr Shepherd said.

Whatever you call it, if your employer is using the Single Touch Payroll system it will all be online.

“People don’t have to go to four employers to get payment summaries from each. They get them all from MyGov,” Mr Shepherd said.

Those without online access would still be able to get a copy of their payment summary through the ATO, he said.

“The start date for small employers is 1 July 2019, and we expect most employers will be on by 30 June 2020.”

MBA Financial Strategists principal Mark Borg said increasing the visibility of super payments was a great idea, “because being able to take control and having trust that your super is being paid is positive”.

“From an employer’s point of view, it’s simplified,” he said.

Mr Borg said the phasing out of payment summaries meant workers would no longer have to wait to do their tax, but it also removed a traditional trigger for them to get started at tax time.

“Change is tough, but it’s going to be more efficient, effective and cheaper,” he said.