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Court rejects challenge to super guarantee

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 launched a case in the High Court earlier this year, arguing it should not pay the guarantee. It had argued that the Tax Office could not collect the levy because it provided a "private and direct benefit" for employees and was not a charge imposed for "public purposes".

The charge is levied on employers that fail to pay the minimum 9 per cent of superannuation for employees. The Tax Office assesses offending employers not only on the super amount due, but adds interest and administration costs.

The High Court yesterday found that the government's right to collect the fee was valid under the constitution.

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

Roy Morgan chairman Gary Morgan yesterday said he was disappointed with the decision.

Mr Morgan said the implications of the findings were severe with thousands of businesses now facing a tax liability for superannuation that had not been paid to contract staffers. Superannuation Minister Bill Shorten said he was pleased with the outcome of the case.

"The superannuation guarantee charge was introduced to encourage employers to pay their employees' superannuation on time," Mr Shorten said.

"It also makes sure employees are compensated appropriately if their employer is late paying their superannuation."

He said the superannuation guarantee charge plays an important role in the integrity of the superannuation system.


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