It's all in the timing.

From 1 April 2019, one aspect of the Director Penalty Notice (DPN) regime was amended regarding the reporting date for superannuation.

Previously, the DPN regime said that directors must report their superannuation within three months from the end of each quarter. This timing applied to either reporting and paying or just reporting the superannuation amount. The relevance of this distinction applies to whether directors would either receive a non-lockdown DPN or a lockdown DPN from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to ensure directors are legally responsible and liable for their company to meet its PAYG withholding and superannuation guarantee charge (SGC) obligations.

Through the Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No. 4) Bill 2018 this timeframe has been changed from three months to 28 days' end of the relevant quarter.

For example, lodgment dates are now as follows.

Directors who want to avoid personal liability and received a DPN should note that the penalty will be remitted if the company pays the outstanding tax at any time. Director penalties will also be remitted if, at any time on or before 21 days after a DPN is issued:

  • The company reported its PAYG withholding within three months of the due date for lodgement and lodged its superannuation guarantee statements within one month and 28 days after the end of the quarter that the superannuation contribution relates to (i.e. it is a non-lockdown DPN); and
  • The company goes into voluntary administration or liquidation.

However, if the company fails to report its PAYG withholding or SGC liabilities within the above periods, the director penalties cannot be remitted even if an administrator or a liquidator is appointed. The DPN regime imposes a lockdown on a director for liabilities that are unpaid and unreported within their required lodgment periods.

No change has been made to the three-month rule from the PAYG due date.

For more information on the DPN regime, go to our website factsheet ( click here) that covers:

  • payment by directors, and associates
  • recovering withheld amounts
  • superannuation
  • estimates and director penalty notices
  • recovering and remitting director penalties
  • defences
  • previous directors
  • new directors
  • right of indemnity and contribution.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.