Boring superannuation question
April 7, 2009 5:24 PM   Subscribe

Should my employer pay the superannuation guarantee on an allowance that I receive? I am in Australia.

I have read the ATO ruling and information AND rung the ATO to ask, but they merely read to me what I had already found on the web. I can't reconcile the examples provided in this (eg David and Bernie), with the definitions provided.

I receive a daily allowance called a 'disruption allowance' from my employer when I travel for more than five days at a time.

Separate from this, my employer reimburses for all business expenses incurred (accommodation, travel, meals, business calls).

I am not clear whether the disruption allowance should be considered an allowance or an expense allowance. Payroll described it to me as "reimbursement of additional expenses incurred due to travel", but there is no need for me to spend any of it really (they specifically mention that it should cover personal phone calls and alcohol).

I hate to waste a question on such a boring topic. The amount of money is not important, but I think if I am entitled to get it, I should. If not, ok. The ATO's advice was that if I didn't understand their explanation, I could write to them for written advice for my specific situation..
posted by AnnaRat to Work & Money (4 answers total)
IANTATO. This is not financial advice. Consult a qualified financial advisor.

That said, if the allowance is recompense for the disruption of the travel, I think that it's not OTE as per that ATO ruling. The real defining point probably comes down to "do you pay FBT on the allowance?" - if so, it's a fringe benefit, and there's no SG liability.
posted by pompomtom at 5:41 PM on April 7, 2009

Response by poster: I pay PAYG tax on the allowance, but I don't believe I pay fringe benefits tax as it is an amount within the reasonable limits.
posted by AnnaRat at 6:38 PM on April 7, 2009

I think if you are taxed on the allowance as earnings, they should pay you super on it, as it looks like OTE in that ruling. Expense reimbursements aren't taxed, and shouldn't get super contributions. Maybe if the company is treating it as an expense refund you should ask if they are taxing you in error? But I'm not a tax agent, so just my opinion.
posted by bystander at 3:22 AM on April 8, 2009

Response by poster: bystander, that was what led me to ask the question in the first place. I can understand it if I would reasonably spend it all that it be considered an expense reimbursement (eg like a meal allowance) and that super is not paid on that.

Interestingly, they have also decided that they will no longer pay this allowance because they think it encourages people to travel more than required to bump up their salary. So, if it only covered expenses, in fact those people should be no better off.

Well, thanks for the suggestions.
posted by AnnaRat at 4:17 AM on April 8, 2009

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