Preparing for SuperStream: a step-by-step guide
SuperStream is a standard for processing superannuation data and payments electronically.
Under SuperStream, you need to pay super contributions for your employees electronically (EFT or BPAY) and send the associated data electronically.
The data is in a standard format so it can be transmitted consistently across the super system – between employers, funds, service providers and the ATO. It's linked to the payment by a unique payment reference number.
This means you can make all your contributions in a single transaction, even if they're going to multiple super funds.
This short video shows you what SuperStream is and how to get ready.
Duration 1:46. A SuperStream makes super simple for employers is also available.
Here's what you need to do to be SuperStream ready:
Step 1: Choose an option
To use SuperStream, you need to pay super and send employee information electronically. If you're already doing this, you may only need to refine your system to send the contribution data in the standard format. You can use:
You can also ask your accountant or bookkeeper to help you with one of these options.
If the only contributions you make are personal contributions for yourself or contributions to a related self-managed super fund (SMSF), you don't need to use SuperStream because these are exempt contributions.
If you use a payroll system, check with your system provider that it is SuperStream ready. You may need to update your system.
Some payroll systems cover data and payments, and some are data only, which means you may need to make payments to each fund separately. Either way the payment must be electronic (EFT or BPAY).
- The SuperStream product registerExternal Link has a list in English of payroll and other service providers who are developing SuperStream solutions.
Your super fund's online system
Large super funds have online payment services you can use. Check with your fund.
Super clearing house
A clearing house pays super to your employees' funds for you. You send a single electronic payment to the clearing house, together with the contribution data for all your employees, and the clearing house does the rest.
If you have 19 or fewer employees, or a turnover of less than $2 million a year, you can use our free Small Business Super Clearing House (SBSCH).
This is a free online service in English that allows small employers to pay super contributions to a single destination in one simple electronic transaction. SBSCH will provide a SuperStream-compliant solution for employers no matter when you sign up.
You can also choose from several commercial options, or your super fund may have a clearing house you can use. Talk to your fund to see what they offer.
Remember, even if you outsource some parts of making super contributions, you're still responsible for ensuring your employees' super is paid correctly.
Step 2: Collect information and update your records
To use SuperStream you'll need to collect some new information from your employees, in addition to the information you already use to pay super.
Once you have this information, enter it into your system, along with the other details you use to pay super, and you're ready to use SuperStream.
You only need to collect this information for current employees. New employees who choose their super fund will fill out a standard choice form, which will have all the information you need.
Ask your employees for the following information, if you don't have it already:
If your employees have a self-managed super fund (SMSF), they need to give you slightly different information:
If you're an employer contributing to your own SMSF, you don't need to collect this information for these contributions.
Where to find the information
Employees can find their fund's ABN and USI on their latest super statement or by calling their fund.
You can also find a fund's ABN and USI using the Super Fund LookupExternal Link in English. However, a fund may have more than one USI so you'll need to confirm the correct USI with your employee.
If you currently make employer contributions to funds using a superannuation product identification number (SPIN) you will need to obtain the USI this SPIN corresponds to – you can find this using the Fund SPIN and USI Lookup TableExternal Link in English.
Step 3: Use SuperStream
Start using SuperStream as soon as possible.
Employers with 19 or fewer employees should be SuperStream ready by 30 June 2016. However, we will provide compliance flexibility to small businesses that are not yet SuperStream ready until 28 October 2016.
This means we will not be taking compliance action against small businesses that missed the 30 June deadline.
It may take time to collect the information and get used to the new system. If any information is incomplete or incorrect, the super payment is likely to be rejected.
It's still up to you to meet your super guarantee obligations by the due dates.
If you're using a clearing house, check how long they will take to send the money and information to the super fund. Generally an employee's super contribution is counted as being paid on the date the fund receives it, not the date a clearing house receives it from you.
Employer SuperStream FAQs
What contributions are exempt?
You don't need to use SuperStream for:
- contributions to your own self-managed super fund (SMSF) (ie if you're a related-party employer – for example, if you're an employee of your family business and your super guarantee contributions go to your SMSF)
- personal contributions – for example, if you're a sole trader and you contribute to a super fund for yourself.
For these types of contributions you can continue using your previous processes.
What is a USI?
A unique superannuation identifier – or USI – identifies the specific super product for an employee contribution. It ensures contributions get to the right destination. All super funds must have at least one USI.
Most super funds have one USI for all of their products. It's publicly available information – the USI and other identifying information for the fund (like the ABN) are generally available on funds’ websites. Some funds have more than one USI, so it's important that your employee tells you which product they're in.
Employers can use Super Fund LookupExternal Link in English to find USIs and other information about super funds.
How can I get an electronic service address?
To receive SuperStream data your SMSF needs an electronic service address.
An electronic service address is an alias used by your SMSF that represents the uniform resource locator (URL) or internet protocol (IP) address of a messaging provider. An e-mail address is not an active electronic service address.
You can get an electronic service address from an SMSF messaging provider or through your SMSF administrator, tax agent, accountant or bank. Many of these options are no cost or low cost.
If your SMSF doesn't use a professional service provider you'll need to register directly with an SMSF messaging provider.
What if I don’t get the information I need from employees with an SMSF?
If an employee with an SMSF hasn't provided you with the information you need to make contributions using SuperStream, you may be able to redirect your employees’ contributions to your default fund, subject to some conditions.
You must tell the employee what information you need and give them a reasonable period to respond. If you don't receive it, ask the employee to complete a standard choice form and return it within 28 days. This form will gather the information you need to make SuperStream contributions to their SMSF.
If you still don't receive the information, you may send their contributions to your default fund.
You can still give an employee more time to respond.
Transcript – SuperStream makes super simple for employers
SuperStream makes super simple. All employers need to use SuperStream when paying super and this short video shows you how.
Until now, making super payments for employees has often meant lots of payments to different funds in different ways, taking several hours to complete.
SuperStream is here to change that, making the job easier, faster, better.
With SuperStream, super payments are electronic, and you can pay all your employees’ super and send their information through one channel, saving you time and effort.
To get started, you need to choose an option to make super contributions electronically.
These include: your payroll system, you super fund’s online system or a super clearing house.
You can also ask your accountant or bookkeeper to help you with one of these options.
Check that your option is SuperStream ready.
Next, you need to collect key information on your employees, including their tax filenumber and a unique super identifier.
Once you have all the information, enter it into your system.
Finally, you should start using SuperStream as soon as possible so you can ensure everything is running smoothly and enjoy the benefits.
Many employers are now paying super in just minutes.
If you have 19 or fewer employees, you must be SuperStream ready by the 30th of June 2016.
If you have 20 or more employees, you should be using SuperStream now.
To learn more about getting ready for SuperStream, go to ato.gov.au/superstreamchecklist
To implement SuperStream employers can use their super fund's online system or a super clearing house, or use a payroll system that meets the SuperStream standard.