The new SuperStream system makes it easier for you to manage your employee super payments. It also offers an opportunity to add value for your small business clients. The first step: make sure you’re SuperStream-ready by 28 October 2016.
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As part of the federal government’s Stronger Super reforms, SuperStream is designed to streamline super payments so they can be processed more efficiently. Once a business is SuperStream-compliant, all of its staff super payments and related data can be sent via a single channel.
For the SuperStream roll-out, medium-sized businesses (with 20 or more employees) had to meet their compliance obligations by mid-2015, while small businesses (with up to 19 employees) had until 30 June 2016. But if you’re a small business owner who missed the cut-off, you can breathe a sigh of relief — the ATO has extended the deadline until 28 October.
What are the benefits?
Being able to pay your employees’ super electronically through one channel could save you considerable time and effort — especially if your staff are in different funds. In fact, the ATO says businesses who are already using SuperStream have slashed their super administration time by around 70%.1
Processing your super electronically is also cheaper and leaves far less room for human error. And because SuperStream allows payments to be reconciled faster, your staff are likely to be happier too.
Accounting firms have another very good reason to make SuperStream compliance a priority. If you miss the extended deadline, you’ll have the ATO to answer to — and that could affect your professional reputation and credibility.
What do you need to do?
By 28 October, small businesses need to be making their staff super contributions via a SuperStream compliant payment solution. Here’s how to get started.
1. Choose your payment method
Under SuperStream, BPAY, EFT and cheque are no longer be compliant super contribution methods.
There are three ways you can make SuperStream payments:
- Through your payroll system (as long as it’s compatible with SuperStream — otherwise you’ll need to update it)
- Through a super fund’s online system such as Commonwealth business Essential Super in NetBank. If you are with another fund, it is best to check that they have a compliant solution.
- By making your contributions as a single e-payment to a super clearing house. Firms with 19 or fewer employees or an annual turnover under $2 million get free access to the ATO’s Small Business Super Clearing House (SBSCH).
Remember, whichever payment method you decide to use, it’s ultimately your responsibility to make sure your employees have their super paid on time.
2. Collect your staff info
Make sure your employees have given you their personal details:
- Date of birth
Employees who nominate their own choice of fund should also provide you with the fund’s name, ABN and Unique Superannuation Identifier (USI). If an employee’s super is to be paid into an SMSF, they’ll also need to provide their fund’s bank account details and electronic service address. However, if you’re an employer making contributions to your own SMSF, you won’t need to provide this information.
3. Make your first payment
Once you’ve chosen your payment method and received all the necessary staff fund details, you’ll be ready to start using SuperStream. From then, you’ll need to make sure your employees’ super is paid via your SuperStream payment method at least quarterly.
It makes sense to get started well before the October deadline, just in case there are any teething problems as you adjust to the new system. And if you’re using a clearing house, check how long it takes them to process payments — generally speaking, you won’t have met your obligations until your employee’s fund receives your payment.
How can you help your small business clients?
Even if your business is now SuperStream-ready, your small business clients may not yet be up to speed. So with the deadline looming, why not offer to help your clients manage their SuperStream obligations?
For example, you could add value for your clients by:
- Identifying the best payment system to suit their business needs
- Ensuring their payroll system is SuperStream-ready if they decide to use this payment method
- Explaining which information they need to get from their employees about their super fund or SMSF.
For more information about how SuperStream works, download the CBA FactSheet for employers.
1 Australian Taxation Office, SuperStream deadline rapidly approaching, April 2016.