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SuperStream: Business compliance looms

There are always changes and developments occurring in the business sector going overlooked by many. As the CEO of a commercial credit bureau I know all too well the repercussions for businesses being unaware, whether that be unaware of changes to certain services or movements in wide-reaching legislations.

One such change that I’m constantly surprised to hear not many small business owners are aware of is the introduction of SuperStream, the ATO’s change to the superannuation industry.

Introduced as part of the Government’s Super Reform package, SuperStream has been introduced to make the superannuation system easier to navigate. It’s a mandatory change that applies to all employers making super contributions, brought in to ensure all contributions are paid on time thanks to a streamlined process.

If you’re an employer that has 20 or more employees, you should have started making contributions using SuperStream from July 1, 2014. You have until June 30, 2015, to ensure you’ve changed over. For small business employers, with 19 or fewer employees, your SuperStream soft-start begins on July 1, 2015, with one year to make the complete change.

To get some more information on SuperStream and what benefits it can bring business, I contacted a colleague at the Australian Taxation Office for some input.

Philip Hind, ATO’s National Program Manager for SuperStream, told me that, in basic terms, SuperStream affects business-to-business interactions from payroll and payment processing to member administration and work flow systems.

“The potential benefits of SuperStream are great – simpler processes for employers paying contributions, reduced costs of administration for funds and more timely and accurate allocation of retirement savings to member accounts,” Philip told me.

“Employers are already saying that SuperStream will give a better outcome for their employees and that it is important for employees to feel that their super is being managed well. The reduction in time spent paying super contributions is also a direct and very welcomed benefit of the new standard for all employers.”

If they still haven’t, large and medium-sized employers should really be getting a move on. Small employers, start making preparations now.

“We recognise that implementing SuperStream represents a significant change for employers,” Philip said.

“The ATO will work with employers and the super industry to achieve compliance – this is our first priority.”

Those needing to prepare for SuperStream should speak to their solution providers, whether that be their accountants, bookkeepers, superfunds or payroll services.

This Employer Checklist makes a great guide to begin changing your super process, while the ATO’s SuperStream website provides plenty of information.