Libs move to stop tax gobbling super
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CANBERRA, Feb 11 AAP
February 11 2013, 8:11PM
Thousands of taxpayers could lose their super contributions to tax if they inadvertently breach the annual voluntary contributions cap, the opposition says.
The opposition wants to exempt people who inadvertently breach the $25,000 contributions cap from harsh taxation measures on contributions above that level.
It moved in parliament on Monday to give the taxation commissioner discretion to review cases when superannuation contributions breach the annual cap.
Last financial year 66,435 Australians breached this cap, opposition MP Bert Van Manen said.
He told parliament it was easy to exceed the cap by mistake.
"It can occur when an individual has multiple employers ... when an employer contribution is a few days earlier or later than expected, and (through) unexpected bonus or redundancy payments," he said.
The opposition amendments are to a government bill that penalises people who withdraw their superannuation earlier than they are entitled to withdraw it.
Financial Services Minister Bill Shorten said the bill, and an associated measure, was designed to deter those who promoted illegal early-release super schemes.
He said the schemes undermined Australia's superannuation program and harmed taxpayers in the process.
Some of the schemes charged fees of up to 50 per cent on unsuspecting people, and in some cases dodgy operators had stolen the entire balance or used the member's identity for criminal purposes.
There are no specific penalties for people who promote early-release super schemes.
Independent MP Rob Oakeshott said he had been unaware the coalition intended to try to make changes to the bill.
He asked for debate to be adjourned to give the crossbench time to study the amendments.
Labor agreed and debate on the Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Reducing Illegal Early Release and Other Measures) Bill 2012 and the Income Tax Rates Amendment (Unlawful Payments from Regulated Superannuation Funds) Bill 2012 was adjourned.