WITH the start of the new financial year, the Australian Taxation Office is urging small employers to get ready for the ATO’s new SuperStream standard, part of the government’s Super Reform package.
SuperStream will provide a consistent, reliable electronic method of transacting linked data and payments for superannuation. The goal is to improve the efficiency of the superannuation system, to improve the timeliness of processing of rollovers and contributions, and reduce the number of lost accounts and unclaimed monies.
Medium to large employers (with 20 or more employees) should already be SuperStream-ready, but have until 31 October to finalise their implementation.
The ATO is advising employers that have not yet made the change to speak with their service provider, accounting professional or super fund to help find a solution that best suits their business needs.
Under SuperStream, employers are required to make super contributions electronically in a standard format. A significant benefit is the reduced time and cost it takes for employers to meet their super obligations.
Thousands of small employers have already made the change to SuperStream, with many reporting significant benefits, the ATO said in a statement.
Accountant Peter Shonhan of Kennas Chartered Accountants said the move to SuperStream had cut down time spent on paying super considerably.
“We upgraded our payroll software and have been recommending our employer clients to do the same. What previously took around a day per month now takes us less than an hour. The time savings are pretty high and allows us to focus on other parts of the business,” Mr Shonhan said.
“SuperStream changes are much like the move to internet banking. There are a few steps to set things up, but, after that, making super contributions is so much easier and faster than before. We couldn’t imagine going back to our old methods,” he said.
ATO’s national program manager for SuperStream, Philip Hind, said the program was delivering real benefits for businesses.
“SuperStream is making super contributions super-simple. For employers, it is cutting red tape by making all super payments electronic and introducing a standard way to pay contributions.”
“Previously, it has been time-consuming for employers who had to make multiple super contributions to numerous funds with many also using cheques to make payments.
“For many employers, paying super took hours. Under SuperStream, employers need now make just one electronic transaction covering all employees – and this can considerably cut the time it takes to make super contributions.”
The ATO has prepared an online employer checklist to help users choose the options available to adopt SuperStream.
Small employers also have the option of using the ATO’s free Small Business Superannuation Clearing House to meet their SuperStream obligations.
What you need to do
Employers can meet SuperStream by either using:
- a software solution that conforms to SuperStream, or
- a service provider who can arrange SuperStream compliance on your behalf.
Your options may include:
- upgrading your payroll software
- using an outsourced payroll or other service provider
- using a commercial clearing house; or, for employers with 19 or fewer employers, using the free Small Business Superannuation Clearing House
- your default fund – they may also have an electronic channel they manage or can make transitional arrangements for you.
You will need to collect and store additional information about funds in order to send them contributions in accordance with the SuperStream standard.
A change of this scale takes time. Careful planning and preparation is needed to establish new systems and processes.
Now is the time to prepare, by investigating your options for meeting SuperStream. Speak to your payroll software provider, clearing house, accountant or bookkeeper, or other service providers to help you find the right solution. Your default fund can also help.
Finalise your plan for implementing SuperStream, and set a target date for processing your first employer contributions using SuperStream.
Access more information via the following ATO website pages:
Click here for Employer checklist
Click here for Small Business Superannuation Clearing House.