Are You Ready For SuperStream?

May 9, 2014

Superstream ATO

 

The next Super Stream date is looming!

For the past few years we’ve been reminding clients about the new data and payment standard designed to improve the operation and efficiencies of rollovers and contributions in the superannuation system.

All employers and superfunds are required to make and receive super contributions and transmit related data in an electronic format that complies with the standard.

Key dates that employers and superfunds need to be aware of in respect of the implementation of the standard are:

Previously From 1 July 2014:
o Medium to large employers (with 20 or more employees) started using the standard to send contribution data and payments electronically. These employers have until 30 June 2015 to finalise their implementation and meet all the requirements.

o All super funds (including SMSFs) must receive any employer contributions sent to their fund in accordance with the SuperStream standard.

From 1 July 2015:
o Small employers (with 19 or fewer employees) will also be required to use the standard to send contributions data and payment electronically. These employers have until 30 June 2016 to finalise their implementation and meet all the requirements

 

MORE ABOUT SUPER STREAM

SuperStream is a Government reform to ensure that all contributions paid by employers with 20 or more employees are paid electronically via SuperStream.

The Government’s stronger super reforms will mean changes to the way you manage your employee super contributions.  These changes mean it will be compulsory for all employers to submit contributions electronically from 1 July 2014.

From 1 July 2014, if you have, at any time during the year, had 20 or more employees you will have to submit your contributions electronically. Employers with less than 20 employees have until 1 July 2015 to comply with the requirements to submit electronically. These measures, called SuperStream have been announced by the Government to assist the ‘back office’ administration of the super system.

Don’t wait for these changes to become mandatory, start making your contributions electronically.

Speak to our team today on 02 4926 2300 or email success@leenanetempleton.com.au  if you have any queries

 

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

The following information is courtesy of the ATO website:

What is SuperStream?

SuperStream is a government reform aimed at improving the efficiency of the superannuation system.
Under SuperStream, employers must make super contributions on behalf of their employees by submitting data and payments electronically in a consistent and simplified manner.

How will SuperStream benefit employers?

These changes have a range of potential benefits for employers, including:

the opportunity to use a single channel when dealing with super funds, regardless of how many funds your employees contribute to

  • less time spent dealing with employee data issues and fund queries
  • greater automation and reduced cost of processing contributions and payments
  • more timely flow of information and money in meeting your superannuation obligations

Who does SuperStream apply to?

SuperStream is mandatory for all employers making super contributions, APRA-regulated super funds and self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) receiving contributions.

 

Why is SuperStream being introduced?

The main purpose of SuperStream is to ensure employer contributions are paid in a consistent, timely and efficient manner to a member’s account. The change also removes many of the complexities employers currently face as a result of funds being able to set up different arrangements for accepting contributions (due to the lack of common data standards).

 

When do I have to start using SuperStream?

If you have 20 or more employees (medium to large employer), your SuperStream obligations under the Superannuation Data and Payment Standards 2012 (the Standard) start from 1 July 2014. From that date, employers will start implementing SuperStream and you have until 30 June 2015 to meet the SuperStream requirements when sending superannuation contributions on behalf of your employees1.

We are facilitating the implementation of SuperStream for employer contributions by coordinating the introduction of compliant SuperStream solutions. You will need to work with your service provider to decide when best suits to make the change.

If you have 19 or fewer employees (small employer), your SuperStream obligations start from 1 July 2015. You have until 30 June 2016 to meet the SuperStream requirements when sending superannuation contributions on behalf of your employees.2 Note that you can voluntarily adopt the SuperStream from 1 July 2014 if you are ready and many solution providers may offer to assist you to do this from this date onwards.

What do I need to do to meet my SuperStream obligations?

Every business is different, so there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach to adopting the SuperStream.

Employers have options for meeting SuperStream – either using software that conforms to SuperStream; or using a service provider who can meet SuperStream on your behalf. We recommend that you start investigating your options now.

Your options may include:

  • upgrading your payroll software
  • using an outsourced payroll bureaux or other service provider
  • using a commercial clearing house or the free Small Business Superannuation Clearing House (19 or fewer employees).

Your default fund may also have its own electronic channel that can be used during the transitional period up to 30 June 2016. This fund can provide you with details about how to comply with the SuperStream using their preferred facilities.

My clearing house shields me from a lot of this complexity, so why do I have to change?

Provided your clearing house submits data and payments electronically on your behalf in accordance with SuperStream, you will not have to make any change to how you provide information or payments to them.

In some cases however, you will need to provide additional data in the payroll file you send to your clearing house. This may include the fund’s unique superannuation identifier, bank account details, electronic service address or employee tax file number (TFN) details (where these have been quoted).

These additions are designed to correct data quality issues in the current system which often lead to lost superannuation accounts, returned contributions and delayed processing.

Your clearing house or other service providers will be able to advise you about their plans and what they mean for you.

What happens if I am not ready to use SuperStream by the required implementation dates?

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will provide flexibility and support to employers making a genuine attempt to comply with their obligations under SuperStream. This will be based on your efforts to get ready, your capabilities, whether you have considered other options for meeting your obligations, and the particular arrangements you have worked out with your default fund.

More information can be found in SuperStream compliance statement.

Example 1: your business is a medium employer and has made plans and taken steps to implement SuperStream in May 2015. Due to a software programming issue with your payroll supplier, the implementation is delayed until September 2015 but you continued to meet your superannuation obligations using existing contributions methods.

As you have been making genuine attempts to meet your obligations, the ATO will take this into account when considering whether a penalty should be applied and will provide support and assistance if required.

Example 2: your business is a large employer and is currently going through a major platform upgrade to your HR and payroll systems. You do not expect to be able to run SuperStream compliant transaction in your system until January 2016 which is after the transition-in period which ends on 30 June 2015. To meet your SuperStream obligations during this interim period you should consider either:

  • engaging with an external service provider, such as a clearing house, who can provide a complying solution in this period
  • taking advantage of electronic processing alternatives offered by your default fund (it may be one of several) – which may include on-forwarding arrangements covering all your employee’s funds.

If you do not enter into a transitional arrangement based on requirements outlined in Schedule 1 to the Standard or take reasonable steps to meet your SuperStream obligations, you may be subject to ATO compliance action including penalties. These will be applied on a case by case basis, according to the facts and in a manner consistent with the SuperStream compliance statement.

Example 3: You have more than 19 employees and it is now after 30 June 2015. You have not made any plans or taken any concrete steps towards meeting your SuperStream obligation. Despite receiving advice from your payroll provider and the ATO on these obligations, you have chosen to keep making paying contributions using mail and cheques.
You are likely to face ATO compliance action including penalties. These will be applied on a case by case basis, according to the facts and in a manner consistent with the SuperStream compliance statement.
End of example

My employees are mainly seasonal – am I a small or medium employer?

For the purposes of SuperStream, all employees at the start date of 1 July 2014 are counted in determining the size of your business.

Example: your business consists largely of seasonal employees – a mix of 5 full-time employees and 17 casual workers.

You will therefore have a total of 22 employees at the start date and will be classed as a medium to large employer. Your SuperStream obligations start from 1 July 2014 and you have until 30 June 2015 to meet all the requirements.

If your actual payroll numbers fall below 20 employees at 1 July 2014, you will be classed as a small employer. Your SuperStream obligations start from 1July 2015 and you have until 30 June 2016 to meet all the requirements. This threshold really only affects your start date of your obligations under SuperStream. By 1 July 2015, all employers – no matter what size – should be working towards full compliance with their SuperStream obligations.

More information from the ATO can be found at https://www.ato.gov.au/Super/SuperStream/

 

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