Preparing for SuperStream
SuperStream aims to improve the efficiency of Australia’s superannuation system and provides a new standard for employers when making super contributions. It requires an employer to send contributions electronically in a standard format with linked data and payments.
Why Is This Happening?
Without SuperStream reforms, each super fund sets their own requirements with regards to how they will receive payments and contribution advice details for each member. This can often make paying your employees superannuation a timely and involved process. If you have numerous super funds to pay, you could be spending several hours per quarter preparing and processing your super payments.
What Are The Changes?
The most important changes include:
- a requirement for employers to use an online solution when making super payments
- a requirement for super funds to receive contributions via an online solution
- a minimum set of standards for data remitted
- it allows the use of TFN’s as a primary identifier to locate members accounts.
What Are The Benefits?
SuperStream is a major change which brings significant benefits for employers and their employees:
- faster allocation of contributions to members accounts
- a reduced number of contributions being returned to employers due to insufficient member details
- improved efficiency
- a reduced number of lost accounts.
It will simplify the super contribution experience for employers by reducing cost and effort while eliminating unnecessary variation in how contributions are made. For employees, it will mean better protection of their retirement savings.
When Does This Affect Me?
Employers with 20 or more employees
SuperStream contributions became mandatory on 1 July 2014, so if you haven’t already implemented a solution you should begin doing so immediately to avoid ATO penalties. The ATO will provide flexibility for you on your start date, provided you are doing your best to implement and have a firm plan to do so no later than 30 June 2015.
Make sure you contact your service provider to check their start dates and work out the best time to begin.
Small employers with 19 or fewer employees
The SuperStream standard applies from 1 July 2015. The ATO will provide flexibility for you on your start-up date, provided you do your best to implement after this date and have a firm plan to do so no later than 30 June 2016.
If you are ready earlier, there is no need to wait and you can start at a time that suits you.
How Do I Start?
The first thing to do is to obtain updated details of your employees superannuation funds. Previously you may have used an ABN, SPIN or SFN, however from 1 July 2014 the Unique Superannuation Identifier (USI) replaced these numbers for compliant funds. To view the most commonly used numbers you can check the Commonwealth Bank’s Superannuation and Investments product list or perform a search using the ATO’s Super Fund Lookup tool. If you cannot find the USI using these methods you should contact the fund to request.
NOTE: There are some differences if the employee is using a Self Managed Super Fund (SMSF).
Now that you have the information you need, you need to decide on your method of lodgement. If you use mainstream Australian cloud accounting software such as MYOB or Xero, then it is possible that you already have access to the tools you need.
At the time of writing, Xero subscriptions from “premium 10” and above include this feature, as does MYOB AccountRight Plus and Premier. If you have compliant software and simply need to start using it, then watch these videos for more specific information:
If you are using a system that isn’t compliant, or are on a plan that doesn’t include the feature, contact us to discuss your options. This may include utilising the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House (SBSCH) – a free online service that helps small business (with 19 or fewer employees) meet their super guarantee obligations.
You can find out more about how the clearing house operates and how to register your small business for the service.