ATO SuperStream Reform: Moving Superannuation into the digital age –ready or not

Posted by Azure Group on 28-Aug-2013 10:34:00

On 1 July 2011, the Government commenced the implementation of the ATO administered SuperStream, a package of measures designed to enhance the 'back office' of superannuation using:

  • Internet based technology
  • Uniform electronic data transfer standards and payments system
  • ATO tax file numbers as a key identifier
  • Straight through processing of superannuation transactions including contributions

The key dates for SuperStream are:

  • December 2013 for super fund rollovers between APRA super funds
  • 1 July 2014 – Employer contributions-mandatory for employers with 20 or more employees including SMSF’s receiving contributions
  • 1 July 2015 - Employer contributions-mandatory for employers with less 19 or less employees including SMSF’s receiving contributions
  • 1 July 2015 mandatory for SMSF’s to receive rollovers and make member payments

SuperStream will improve productivity of the superannuation system; reduce the time to roll-over money from one super fund to another super fund, and the processing of employer contributions.

What is SuperStream?

SuperStream is built around ‘Standard Business Reporting’ linked to the ATO and is designed to work with accounting systems using standard terms, messaging language and data packaging rules. The purpose of SuperStream is to deliver a fully digital process; removing risk of error, reducing long processing times and unnecessary member fees.

Every employer needs to be across SuperStream to ensure they are meeting their superannuation obligations especially as there will be no other alternative.

Who is affected?

SuperStream affects almost all employers, all SMSF’s and all APRA regulated super fund providers.  Super fund members are also affected in that they will have access to an online portal to amalgamate multiple super fund accounts and keep track of their super contribution payments. Employers must use SuperStream to enroll new employees and allow them to determine their super fund.

What is the benefit of SuperStream?

SuperStream was designed with fund member’s needs in mind. Whilst manual transactions are slower, they are also a cost that is taken out of the contributions. Funds charge a $5 - $10 fee to manually process transactions. Hence, while contributions are taking longer to hit the member’s account with the current process, the member is also wearing unnecessary fees. Automating this process will also be highly beneficial to employers as it removes many of the associated costs with paper transactions and the risk of relying on a key person in your business to implement superannuation transactions and provides eelectronic record keeping for tax and audit purposes.

Becoming SuperStream Compliant

There are a number of ways to prepare for SuperStream, depending on your particular setup. Those businesses currently using cloud based accounting software can most likely access a software update offered by the supplier.

Paper based businesses maybe need to consider a switch to cloud based software to make the process of incorporating SuperStream a more seamless one. Alternatively you can reach out to your accountant and give them the responsibility of undertaking your businesses’ superannuation transactions.

SuperStream compliant enrolments and contribution obligations are being phased in so will not affect all businesses immediately.

  • Employers with 20 or more employees will have to have their contributions and enrolments  SuperStream compliant from 1 July 2014
  • Smaller employers must have their contributions and enrolments SuperStream compliant from 1 July 2015

If you have an SMSF you are also required to be part of SuperStream which means the fund must be able to receive and broadcast electronic transaction using the same protocols as other APRA regulated super funds with the exception of member contributions from related employers.  None the less SMSF’s need to prepare because come 1 July 2015 the only way to pay members or receive rollovers will be via SuperStream.

For the remainder of 2013, APRA super funds are transitioning into SuperStream using rollovers and inter fund transfers to come up to speed. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is overseeing the introduction of SuperStream. For more information visit http://www.ato.gov.au/Super/Data-standards/In-detail/Legal-framework/Legislative-instrument/Superannuation-data-and-payment-standards-and-associated-schedules/

Please feel free to contact us at Azure Group Wealth should you have any questions on how SuperStream will affect your individual situation at ourteam@azuregroup.com.au.

DISCLAIMER/WARNING – GENERAL ADVICE ONLYThe information provided in this article is General Information only, so does NOT take into account your objectives, financial situation and needs. Before acting on any information contained in this website you should consider the appropriateness of the advice having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.

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Topics: Superannuation