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Challenge to tax office's superannuation guarantee levy is dismissed

THE High Court has dismissed a challenge to the federal government's ability to collect the superannuation guarantee levy from businesses on behalf of employees.

THE High Court has dismissed a challenge to the federal government's ability to collect the superannuation guarantee levy from businesses on behalf of employees.

Roy Morgan Research, a company well-known for its election polling, launched a case in the High Court earlier this year, arguing it shouldn't pay the guarantee. The company argued the tax office could not collect the levy because it provided a "private and direct benefit" for employees and was not imposed for "public purposes". The charge is levied on employers that fail to pay the minimum 9 per cent level of superannuation for employees.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) assesses offending employers on the super amount due and added interest and administration costs.

But the High Court yesterday found the government's decision to collect the fee from employers who did not pay the superannuation to employees was valid under the constitution. The ATO and the federal government had argued the charge was constitutional, as there was a public purpose in the incentive to pay the super.

In late 2007 the ATO imposed a super guarantee charge on Roy Morgan Research, relating to contractors who conducted face-to-face and phone interviews between 2000 and 2006. The ATO deemed they were employees and entitled to super.

The chairman of Roy Morgan Research, Gary Morgan, yesterday said he was disappointed with the decision and that thousands of businesses would now face a tax liability for superannuation that had not been paid to contract staffers.


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