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My employer claims it made mistaken super payment

Enthusiast

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Replies 13

Dear ATO community,

I resigned from my job in May 2021. Two weeks after resigning I received a rather dodgy email from a payroll account apparently linked to my former employer claiming that they discovered that earlier during the year their company payroll has mistakenly made a series of excess contributions (totalling to $2000) to my super account. Without providing any documentation or explanation, the email asked me to return a signed "deduction authority form" which they included in order to allow them to recover the money. 

I understand that as a former employee, it is not my responsibility to deal with such issues: if a payment has been made to the superfund in mistake, the employer has to deal with it with the super-found, not the employee. Is that correct?

I already witnessed mistakes from that company payroll and as I don't have the technical knowledge to assess the correctedness of their claim, I do not inted to sign the consent form. 

I would like to confirm with ATO whether the above line of reasoning is correct and if it is my right to ignore their request

thanks for your time,

 

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions

Most helpful response

ATO Community Support

Replies 10

Hi @choffan

 

You are correct in thinking that your former employer should be seeking to obtain the refund of the excess super contributions directly from your super fund.

I'm sure your super fund will also require your consent to this and should be able to provide sufficient documentation to demonstrate to you that it's legitimate.

 

There are two quick things you could do for peace of mind:

 

1. You could call your former employer to verify the legitimacy of the request and to ask for more details about how the overpayment has been calculated;

2. You could also review your payslips for the period in question and work out your gross income for the period. Then calculate 9.5% of that to give you the super contributions that should have been made by your employer and compare that number against what is showing for super on the payslips.

 

If either of the above don't stack up then @Bruce4Tax is probably right!

 

RichATO

13 REPLIES 13

Taxicorn Registered Tax Practitioner

Replies 12

I resigned from my job in May 2021. Two weeks after resigning I received a rather dodgy email from a payroll account apparently linked to my former employer claiming that they discovered that earlier during the year their company payroll has mistakenly made a series of excess contributions (totalling to $2000) to my super account. Without providing any documentation or explanation, the email asked me to return a signed "deduction authority form" which they included in order to allow them to recover the money. 

I understand that as a former employee, it is not my responsibility to deal with such issues: if a payment has been made to the superfund in mistake, the employer has to deal with it with the super-found, not the employee. Is that correct?

I already witnessed mistakes from that company payroll and as I don't have the technical knowledge to assess the correctedness of their claim, I do not inted to sign the consent form. 

I would like to confirm with ATO whether the above line of reasoning is correct and if it is my right to ignore their request

 

Looks like a scam to me.

 

Enthusiast

Replies 0

I agree and I don't like it. But, under the assumption it is just a bad clerk, what is my legal obligation in this matter? I don't want to have the responsibilities to give consent or to prevent a due action.

 

Most helpful response

ATO Community Support

Replies 10

Hi @choffan

 

You are correct in thinking that your former employer should be seeking to obtain the refund of the excess super contributions directly from your super fund.

I'm sure your super fund will also require your consent to this and should be able to provide sufficient documentation to demonstrate to you that it's legitimate.

 

There are two quick things you could do for peace of mind:

 

1. You could call your former employer to verify the legitimacy of the request and to ask for more details about how the overpayment has been calculated;

2. You could also review your payslips for the period in question and work out your gross income for the period. Then calculate 9.5% of that to give you the super contributions that should have been made by your employer and compare that number against what is showing for super on the payslips.

 

If either of the above don't stack up then @Bruce4Tax is probably right!

 

RichATO

Enthusiast

Replies 9

Hey Rich,

 

I appreciate the prompt and quick reply, thanks, very exhaustive.

 

Since in the email I received it is stated that "[the employer] reserves the right to refer the matter to an external credit collection agency without further notice to you", honestly speaking I would rather wait for this to happen (whatever it means), if there is no risk of negligence or legal cost on my side. I don't feel like taking the responsibility and the potential risks of verifying their claim if not necessarily.

I would rather prefer to act upon a request from my Super  rather than a dubious email from an unknown clerk.

 

If you think the above makes sense, I would stick to inertia and see what comes next.

ATO Community Support

Replies 8

Hey @choffan

 

There is one significant risk with that approach. If it is legitimate and you ignore it and the debt gets handed over to a collection agency it will significantly impact your credit rating.

In turn this may make it hard to obtain a loan from a bank in the future.

 

Just something to think about.

 

RichATO

Enthusiast

Replies 7

Hi Rich,

 

I see, that makes sense. Definitely not worth the trouble. I will take a first step by asking all due documents proving the mistake and then I will ask the Super to be involved to confirm the mistake. At this stage I guess it is reasonable not to sign a consent form since I have not been informed about the specifics of the wrongdoing.

 

ATO Community Support

Replies 6

Hi @choffan

 

Without seeing the 'consent form' it is not possible to comment on whether you should sign it or not.

If it is from your super fund, and you can verify that by speaking with your fund, then it may not be reasonable to refuse to sign it.

 

RichATO

Enthusiast

Replies 5

Hi Rich,

apologies for the late reply. I wanted to access the consent form before coming back. I can confirm it is not from the superfund. In the meantime, I asked payroll to disclose information about the supposed mistake and got in touch with my super to understand if payroll did take any step to initiate the recovery with them.

thanks again for your help

ATO Community Support

Replies 4

Hi @choffan,

 

Sounds like you are following it up well and just awaiting acknowledgement on whether this is correct information or not. Keep us posted and let us know if you need any further assistance or guidance.

 

All the best for now.