• Webinar for accounting professionals. Video transcript

    Hello, it’s the Australian Taxation Office here. Good afternoon and welcome to today’s SuperStream webinar. We’re pleased that you’re able to come along today and hear about SuperStream. The ATO’s is actually currently running a series of webinars and speaking events focusing on SuperStream around Australia, in capital cities and regional centres, and online.

    My name is Kate Wilson and I’m a Project Manager in the superannuation area of the ATO. Before we get started today I’ll just run through a few housekeeping matters. Today’s webinar will run for approximately one hour. The first section will be a presentation on SuperStream in which we will run through what SuperStream is and what it means for you and your clients. The second section of the webinar today is a live question and answer session. This is the interactive component and it is an opportunity for you, as listeners, to ask me questions about what you’ve heard today. You can type in questions during the presentation and we’ll collate them and answer them, and get to as many as possible, in the time allowed at the end.

    There is another short interactive component of the webinar today. I’ll be asking you a couple of questions throughout the presentation. The first one will be about your readiness and preparedness for SuperStream, and the other two will be seeking feedback on the presentation and the Q&A, and whether you found it useful. So I would stress there’s no right or wrong answers about the readiness question, it’s purely for informational purposes and to help the ATO improve what we do in marketing and communications.

    So you may be participating in this webinar today in a number of different ways, either a desktop computer, a laptop, a smart phone or a tablet. You will all be on mute for the entire session as we have a lot of attendees online today, but no matter how you are participating or listening you can ask me questions by using your questions pane on your screen. Simply type in your question and click on tap or send. Your questions will come through to me and I’ll do my best to get to as many as possible at the end of the presentation.

    Just the last housekeeping matter, we’ll be uploading the webinar slides onto the ATO’s website, and we will also be emailing out a link to all of you so you can access the slides for future use, or to pass them on to someone else. So what I hope you get from today’s webinar is an understanding of SuperStream and your responsibilities, the ability to either equip yourselves or equip others to get ready for SuperStream and to prepare, and to know where to go for further information.

    I’m just going to pause now for the first poll question, and this question asks you how ready you are, or your clients are, for SuperStream.

    [Pause on audio as people respond to the poll question – 4:36 – 4:53]

    Thank you very much for that. I can see that a lot of you are clicking ‘getting there’, some of you ‘not yet’, and a small percentage of you are ready. So we thank you very much for that answer, and I’ll take that into account as we go.

    So why do you need to know about SuperStream? It’s important that employers and those that advise and assist them are ready and know how to implement SuperStream. I’ll get into what SuperStream is shortly, but just upfront it’s something that affects all employers, all superannuation funds, including self-managed super funds, so in that sense it’s a whole of super system change. SuperStream applies to all employers that pay super contributions on behalf of their employees. If you manage a payroll for a business or provide advice to employers then you also need to know about SuperStream, too. So just by the fact that you’re online today you’ve recognised that you need to know something about it, so we hope that we give you what you need today.

    I sometimes hear the question, so what exactly is SuperStream? Is it a system? Is it a computer survey? Is it a box in the sky? Is it just another change that we have to make for the ATO? Well I guess upfront I’d like to say no to all of those. It’s actually the name or the brand or the slogan given to a government reform that standardises the way employers send super contributions, and information about those contributions, to super funds. So in that sense it’s not a new system, it’s all about going electronic and introducing consistent and simplified ways of making contributions to all super funds.

    Think about the big picture for a moment. Saving for retirement is one of the biggest challenges that we face today as a community. It’s often in the newspapers and on the nightly news, and it’s very rare that you can go through a week and not hear about how important saving for the future is. And if you look at how things work today, getting employer contributions into the system is often seen as a very inefficient process, and often riddled with delays and errors, and we hear that paying super, and this might sound a bit cheesy, is often less than a super experience for many, and at the end of the day this inefficiency affects our retirement savings.

    So with SuperStream the super contributions which employers pay, and information about those payments, must be sent electronically to super funds. It’s all about new simplified channels to make things easier for employers, it’s all about getting the key information about contributions right at the source, and all of this means there should be a lot less errors and delays.

    Also as you listen today please keep in mind that SuperStream is not your typical new measure or change that you probably are used to hearing about from the ATO. Although it is a government reform, it is aimed at improving the efficiency at the back office aspects of paying contributions, so in that sense it doesn’t alter obligations to pay super, it doesn’t change the rate of super, it actually is about improving the way Superannuation contributions get from point A to point B, or from an employer to a fund. The ATO’s role in all of this has been to drive changes, and acceptance of these changes, within the Superannuation industry and amongst employers.

    So let’s think for a moment about the contributions payment process and how it operates at the moment. What’s your experience? Do contributions get allocated slowly? DO you have to deal with different requirements for different funds? Perhaps just take a moment to add up how many different superannuation funds you or your clients deal with? Is it three? Is it ten? Or is it more than 20? And how many different payment methods are there? SuperStream is all about addressing some of the inefficiencies these current practices create.

    I’ll just note that employers and their different models are all different, they all vary, and we recognise this, so these inefficiencies and the consequences of them existing will be felt to a greater or lesser extent by employers. But what we do hear consistently, and what the government is consistently, is that managing super obligations whilst running a business can be complicated and time consuming, and as advisors many of you probably get a sense of this and these frustrations already. And also what we hear is that it’s pretty common amongst employers that Superannuation forms a huge part of their small business, and this can be difficult to manage. And this complexity and this time that it takes to manage contributions has increased significantly since ‘choice of fund’ legislation took effect some time ago.

    So how can SuperStream help? As I said before it standardised the different ways in which contributions are sent to funds, and it eliminates variation for employers. It is compulsory to send the contributions using an agreed set of business terms, and in an agreed electronic format, and this is all about taking complexity out of the way. So SuperStream will make contributions be processed faster. It will mean less errors and less time fixing errors, and it’s all about consistency and reliability, which ultimately means reduction in time and cost in the long term managing contributions. So in that sense we think it’s a pretty good news story for employers.

    So by now you’ll have the sense that SuperStream is about employers going electronic. Payments and data now need to be sent electronically and in a SuperStream compliant format, and this will mean that employers need to make some changes and collect some extra information to be ready for SuperStream. And whilst many employers that we speak to are pretty enthusiastic about these changes, and we have heard a lot of good news stories about implementation, we recognise that there are some, hopefully not too many, but some that are hesitant to go electronic, and that’s just the reality of society.

    But we’d ask that you all consider that SuperStream could be one of the first steps for an employer to go electronic, and this means that employers could realise the other benefits for their business about becoming capable in a digital sense. There’s many studies that suggest that highly digital businesses grow quicker and have increases in revenue, so whilst SuperStream makes superannuation electronic, it does have broader implications, and it could be seen as the first trigger or reason for a business to change what they do.

    And as I said earlier, SuperStream is a whole of system change, and to realise the benefits across the system the ability to transact electronically and consistently is very important, and there are no exemptions to this. There are some employers that we recognise will be resistant to using to internet and doing things electronically, so we do suggest that as agents or accountants, or as people that provide advice, that you work with these employers and you explore how as an accountant you could work with an employer, continue to use existing manual methods in your dealings with each other, but then you manage the interactions electronically with the super funds. So interactions between the employer and their agent do not have to be impacted directly by SuperStream, so long as there is a SuperStream solution in place that the agent manages.

    We also recognise for geographic reasons that employers in remote locations genuinely do not have internet access, so our message there is that they should still submit their contributions manually to funds, but we would... again we would encourage these employers to work with agents, or encourage people like yourselves to work with employers to see what SuperStream implementation options you as agents can manage on behalf of employers. And this is something that we’re consistently saying when we visit regional centres.

    So a typical government reform has a start date, and these are legislated for SuperStream. The key thing to note here is that SuperStream has already started. For small employers, and these are defined as employers with 19 or fewer employees, SuperStream formally starts on the 1st of July this year. Small employers can start implementing SuperStream now, and many have done already, so there’s no need to wait until July.

    For employers with 20 or more employees SuperStream has already started, and the formal start date was 1 July 2014. What we’re hearing from many medium and large employers is that SuperStream will give better outcomes for their employees, and that it is important for their employees to feel that their superannuation is being managed well, and SuperStream is helping with that. We’re also hearing that there’s been a reduction in the time spent paying super contributions on quarterly and monthly basis, and this is also a direct and very welcome benefit of the new standardised way of paying contributions.

    In terms of figuring out the number of employees that you have, we know that many employers have fluctuating numbers and this could be because of the seasonal nature of your workforce. We therefore recommend that you calculate your number of employees on the 1st of July. So as an example I was recently speaking to an employer that had five fulltime employees and about 18 seasonal employees, and this was for a summer business, so I suggested that for SuperStream purposes that they were a business with five employees. So it’s not to disadvantage people that have a peak in their workforce in the cooler months, it’s just an arbitrary date that we recommend you do the calculation on.

    Just with the start date, the ATO is providing flexibility for employers to make the change up to 12... so, sorry, the ATO is providing flexibility for employers for a 12 month period following the formal start date, so for medium and large employers we have provided until the 30th of June this year for them to have firm implementation plans in place, and you may have heard that that similar period of flexibility exists for small employers until the 30th of June 2016. So there is that flexibility there, but our message is that employers shouldn’t delay in putting their plans in place, making sure they leave enough time to prepare, and that’s really to make sure that they realise the benefits earlier.

    Throughout SuperStream implementation, and following the legislated start dates, the ATO will be checking compliance with SuperStream. But I would stress that our first priority is to help employers understand and comply with the steps they need to take to be SuperStream ready. So we recognise that implementing SuperStream does represent a significant change for some employers, some larger than others, but ultimately the steps that people have to take do require effort. So that’s why we have provided flexibility on implementation dates. But to have this flexibility and to benefit from that the ATO needs to see that employers are making genuine attempts to meet their obligations, and what we would look for here is a firm plan and a defined start date.

    So whilst our initial focus is underpinned by education and support, our focus on compliance will gradually strengthen over time, and we do plan on contacting employers to see how they are progressing, to identify if they’re having difficulties, to remind them of their responsibilities, and also to offer support. But the key thing to remember is we don’t want them to panic, we know that some of the start dates are looming and not everyone is ready, so when we go through the key steps that people have to take I encourage you as accountants or advisors to proactively engage with your employer clients and methodically step them through what they have to do.

    So we’ve talked a lot so far about employers needing to get ready, but the system that supports them, and the super system that they exist in, also needs to get ready. Super funds need to be ready for SuperStream as well, and the vast majority of the large APRA regulated super funds are ready to receive payments and data electronically, so they have spent a fair while ensuring that their systems are compliant. They are also offering their employer clients support, that’s by way of onboarding activities such as webinars or seminars, website material, pamphlets, factsheets, that there’s a lot out there talking about SuperStream and helping employers make certain decisions.

    Employers should look at the data that they currently collect for contributions, and what additional information they might need to meet the SuperStream standard. So for example tax file numbers are now mandatory under SuperStream, so employers need to ensure that they include it, retain it in their payroll system, and include the TFN when paying contributions. Another example of a change is because SuperStream is all about the electronic transmission of payments and information a payment reference number must be attached now to contributions, and this is so that the money, and information about the money, can be reconciled by the fund that receives it.

    In reality we expect a lot of employers to speak to a solution provider about how they get ready for SuperStream, and there are a number of free or low cost options in the marketplace today. I’ll run through what a solution provider is shortly and what options there are, but I would stress at this point that the ATO cannot tell employers how to implement SuperStream, but we do have information products like a checklist pitched at employers that will help them with their next steps.

    The employer checklist, which is available on the ATO’s website, outlines the key steps for employers in a simple checklist format. As accountants or bookkeepers or BAS agents advisors play a big role in ensuring clients are ready for the changes, so I’d encourage you all to have a look at the checklist and perhaps use it to engage with your employer clients to get them ready, and to transition through a successful SuperStream implementation. The checklist is available on the ATO’s website and you’ll see the address at the bottom of your screen, after step nine [indicating to presentation slide].

    Your clients may start asking you about what options they have to comply with SuperStream, and our first step in the checklist talks about what options are available to them. The ATO can’t tell employers what to do; advisors are in a better position to do this after you... because you know the employer’s business model, where they are at now, and where they need to be in the future, so it’s important to consider business needs going forward. And any options that you suggest will depend on what their... how they’re set up currently, and how ready that solution is for SuperStream.

    An employer’s current arrangements may not actually be the best for the future either, so we suggest that with SuperStream it’s an opportune time to look at how businesses are set up. They may approach SuperStream implementation with an open mind, and it’s important to consider what will give them the best results, the most efficient long term solutions, and this is particularly so if they have multiple payroll solutions. So SuperStream could be one factor when considering integrating their payrolls or other back office systems in the future.

    So I’ve mentioned a solution provider, and a solution provider is someone that we think the vast majority of employers will go to, to implement SuperStream. And a solution provider could be an accountant or a bookkeeper, their default superannuation fund, or a payroll service provider. Each business is different, so employers should choose a solution that works best for them, and we think that right now is the time when they must start assessing their options. And three months is about the rough estimate of time that we think is needed to prepare, get ready, test and implement.

    And, look, we’ve been hearing a lot of successful implementation stories so far, which I... and I just thought I’d like to share a couple with you now. So actually a local bookkeeper in Canberra recently said to me that she registered with the ATO’s Small Business Super Clearing House and what previously took her about half a day, and that was managing super contributions for about 25... oh sorry, no, about 15 employees, now takes her about 20 minutes. So that was one great example of saving time, and no doubt cost, allowing her more time in the business than on the business.

    Another small business owner in Brisbane said it wouldn’t matter if you’ve got 20 employees with 20 different super funds, working with her default super fund she found that they took on the responsibility of paying all of the funds that she had to deal with, so rather than 20 different processes she now made one payment, and that default super fund then on-forwarded all of the other contributions that had to be paid. So it was a classic, “I didn’t think it was going to be that easy, but it was.” And so it’s really positive to hear those good news stories.

    Look, speaking with a couple of payroll providers and funds, they’ve been saying that they’re encouraging clients to implement SuperStream, working with them to make sure that data is easily accessible, that the new data requirements are easy to get, and that’s therefore meant a better experience for employers. So lots of good news stories out there.

    This is just a graphic that puts the employer front and centre, showing the various solutions in play for them, and mentioning some of the key spots they can go to get further information [indicating to presentation slide]. So I have mentioned here a couple of different types of solution providers, and all employer situations are going to be different, but these are some of the more likely solutions for them. Along the right hand side of the screen are some of the helpful products that the ATO offers, and these are complemented by a lot of information sessions that we’re running around Australia [indicating to presentation slide]. So I would encourage you all to have a look at our website. There is a checklist there and some frequently asked questions, and some other useful products. I would also encourage you to have a look at the websites of super funds and some of the other superannuation product providers. There is a lot of SuperStream information out there that’s often product or fund specific, which is very helpful.

    I’ve only referred to self-managed super funds quickly so far, but I just thought I’d spend just a short moment talking about SuperStream and SMSFs. So SMSFs are of course required to receive super contributions in the standardised SuperStream way, too. Every SMSF needs to provide employers with some information in order to receive SuperStream contributions, or contributions under SuperStream, and these three critical pieces of information are their Australian Business Number of ABN, their bank account details, and an electronic service address. So an electronic service address is something new, and something specific to SuperStream, and it’s something that SMSFs will have to go and get from a messaging provider.

    And I would just say initially that an electronic service address is not an email address, it’s effectively the name given to a virtual post office, if you like, that will receive SuperStream contributions information. SuperStream contributions are still sent the SMSF’s bank account, but the ESA or electronic service address is really just a new spot to receive SuperStream data. There are many service providers that can provide an electronic service address, and again there’s a list of these providers on the ATO’s website. Happy to take some more specific questions on SMSFs though in the Q&A session.

    So just in conclusion the key points from today if they haven’t been clear already, now is the time to get ready for SuperStream. If you’re well on your way, that’s great, keep going. If you’re not, now is the time to get started and put plans in place. As an advisor explain to your clients the benefits of SuperStream, and that it’s a simple and practical measure that will ultimately benefit them and reduce complexity in the super system. It’s important that you work with them to find a solution that best suits their needs, but help is available along the way, both from the ATO’s website, but also from payroll software providers, super funds, clearing houses, and others that you might deal with.

    Just on your screens now is the ATO’s website address, and also an email address that you can follow up any general questions that you might have [indicating to presentation slide].

    That brings our presentation to an end. I’m just going to put a poll question to you, and this is going to ask you how you found the presentation today, whether it was useful, and I’ll just pop you on pause just while I have a quick look at the questions you’ve been sending through.

    [Pause on audio as people respond to the poll question – 30:57 – 31:41]

    Great, thank you for that feedback. Thank you also for your participation with the questions and answers. I’ll just run through them as best I can in the time that we’ve got available. A couple of you have asked do I have to use a clearing house. The answer is no, it’s not compulsory to use a clearing house, but if it suits your needs, sure, go ahead. There are a number of commercial clearing house options available, and the ATO offers the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House for eligible employees... oh sorry, eligible employers.

    In terms of the ATO’s Small Business Superannuation Clearing House, this is a free service, there is no charge, and you are eligible to use it if you are a business with 19 or fewer employees, or if you have a turnover of under $2 million per year. And this is a service that helps employers meet their super guarantee obligations, as well as the SuperStream obligations. So the Small Business Super Clearing House will forward all contributions and payments to the funds that they need to get to, electronically in a format that complies with SuperStream. So in this instance it’s a single... a simple and easy to use channel for small businesses. You don’t need any specific payroll software to use it. It does, however, require an internet connection.

    I can just see another question on the clearing house saying can I use the clearing house but delegate this to an agent? Yes you can.

    A few people have said they have clients that don’t use the internet, can they have an exemption? No is the quick answer. All employers need to meet the SuperStream requirements, and as we ran through in the presentation there are a number of different options that can be used, such as getting assistance from professionals, like a tax agent, so our response to employers that don’t have the internet would be work with an agent to be SuperStream ready. Also small businesses do have a period of flexibility to implement, so yes, the legislative start date is the 1st of July this year, but there is some flexibility in when they actually meet the implementation deadline. I would put a caveat over that statement and reinforce my earlier comments that all employers should be making reasonable and genuine efforts to go electronic.

    A few questions wanting to clarify does SuperStream apply to employer contributions, or all contributions? SuperStream is aimed at employer contributions, so if you’re a sole trader it doesn’t apply to personal superannuation contributions.

    Does SuperStream alter superannuation guarantee obligations? No, it doesn’t. SuperStream doesn’t change the rate of super that you have to pay, it just changes how you make those contributions and the format in which you make those contributions, so SG remains the same.

    A few people asking I already pay funds electronically, I’m guessing this is either via electronic funds transfer or perhaps BPAY. Even though you are already paying electronically you probably aren’t meeting the SuperStream requirements because you aren’t sending the fund the contribution information required under SuperStream. So the money is getting there electronically, but SuperStream introduces some new information requirements. So the contributions information sent with each payment for each employee will let that fund know exactly how to allocate the contribution, and that’s what’s SuperStream is all about. So just because you’re paying with EFT or BPAY at the moment does not mean you’re SuperStream ready, so I’d encourage you to go and talk to the fund that you deal with, or have a look at their website, about their SuperStream offerings.

    I’ll just pop you on mute and just have a look at the ones that have just come through.

    OK, thanks, I’ve just had a look at some of the latest questions. A few concerns around I’m not ready, what if I can’t complete my implementation on time? I guess my first response would be don’t panic. The ATO recognises that change requires effort and a change in practices, so we’re not saying just plod along, there are legislated start dates which we need to be mindful of, but do your best, talk to your service provider, get a firm implementation plan and do what you can to prepare. Leave some time to complete your implementation. We recommend about three months. While you’re preparing thoroughly recommend that you continue to meet your super guarantee obligations using your existing processes. You don’t have to notify the ATO if you’re going to be running a little bit late, and you won’t be penalised if you have made a genuine effort to get ready.

    That’s probably a good segue to some of the questions we’re receiving about just what the ATO is going to do about imposing penalties. So the ATO is not going to be applying penalties in the first instance, so in line with our established I guess ATO principles that we apply in relation to penalties more broadly, it’s not our first port of call. We will... I’ll come back to that point around an honest and genuine and reasonable attempt to get ready, but look, it’s always an avenue down the track for flagrant or very obvious noncompliance, but it’s not our first port of call. I mean in fact the compliance statement that we have up on the SuperStream section of the ATO website does outline in a fairly formal sense that our first priority is to help employers, and to help them understand and comply with their obligations, and our focus is on education and support at this time, and will be in the coming months.

    And, look, I’ve said it before, it’s we recognise that it is a significant change for employers, and that’s why we have provided the flexibility on implementation dates. We also do recognise that compliance with SuperStream may not be possible due to certain circumstances like a poor internet connection or, yeah, intermittent internet connection, or it just doesn’t work on a particular day. We’ll take these into account. Ultimately it’s about getting your SG to the fund, and that’s the ultimate policy goal. SuperStream is just about improving how it gets from point A to point B.

    A couple of questions around what my fund or solution provider should be doing to help me as an employer, or me as a tax agent with employer clients get ready. So that goes back to my earlier point about employers need support to get ready for SuperStream, and the system and the super funds and everyone else needs to make it as easy and simple as possible. Many employers think it’s a headache, but it doesn’t have to be. So the ATO has recognised that a critical dependency in employer implementation is the SuperStream readiness of those that receive contributions in the system, so the ATO has been working very closely with funds and clearing houses and payroll software providers to ensure that they have pretty solid and comprehensive outreach and education activities and information on their websites, and we’re encouraging them to continuously review and update what they’re doing so that things remain very simple for employers, particularly those who are wanting to do the right thing.

    I can see a lot more coming in, so I’ll just pop you all on mute for another moment while I just have a look. Thanks.

    Thanks for that. There are a lot of very specific questions coming in about how people are currently dealing with particular clearing houses. A few having... just venting on some negative experiences. Unfortunately I can’t comment on some of those, nor can I help you rectify some of the issues that you might be having. I guess all I can say is that the ATO is working with clearing houses and funds and really trying to get them to make things as easy and simple for employees... oh, employers as possible. And if you are having any specific issues with clearing houses, perhaps just get on the phone and work through your issues with them.

    A question around does the ATO list a lot of SuperStream software that’s ready? We do have on our website a list called... a product register, and this is a list of products that are SuperStream ready. It certainly isn’t every product that’s available in the marketplace, but it is a very good starting point, if you’d like to have a look at who out there is ready for SuperStream. That link is on our www.ato.gov.au/superstream website.

    Another few questions around, I can’t afford to get ready for SuperStream, what can I do? There are a number of free and low cost options out there in the marketplace, and it might just be worth having a look around for what suits you. Probably go to the fund that you’re currently working with and see what they can offer you, or as I mentioned in my presentation if you are a small employer the ATO does have a free Small Business Superannuation Clearing House which you can use. An internet connection is needed for that. But on our website there’s a few buttons that you can press that will take you through the registration process. You do need to sign up to a few terms and conditions, which is pretty standard these days, but have a look at the Small Business Super Clearing House, perhaps it’s something that might suit you.

    Just while I’m going through some of the other questions, if I don’t get to your question there are some FAQs or frequently asked questions for employers and SMSFs on our ATO website, so I’d encourage you to have a look at those. Also if you do have a general question which we don’t get to there is that email address on the last slide of the presentation. I would just say that we can’t provide you any advice, nor really get involved in any issues that you might have with a clearing hours or a private sector entity, but certainly send a general question through and we’ll do our best to get back to you in a timely way.

    Probably further to the question around how do I find out what is a SuperStream ready product, in an SMSF, a self-managed super fund context, I mentioned that you now require something call an electronic service address. You get this from a messaging provider, and an SMSF messaging provider is something... oh, is a body or a business, an entity, that will help an SMSF comply with SuperStream, and there is a list on the ATO’s website of options and service providers that will help SMSFs, many free options, and some that attract a small fee. Just because they’re on the ATO’s website doesn’t mean we’re endorsing any or all of the products, but I certainly encourage you to have a look at those.

    Another question around how can I help my clients that are SMSF trustees? I guess the first thing I would say is explain to them that SuperStream is a simple and practical measure that’s designed to reduce complexity and the potential error in the super system. I guess that’s the benefit proposition, that’s why SuperStream is important. I guess my next step would be to then inform that SMSF trustee that they need to pick a SuperStream messaging provider, and that messaging provider will then provide them with an electronic service address. And as I said just before, a full list of providers is available on the ATO’s website.

    And look, this messaging provider will enable an SMSF to receive a contribution... to receive data about the contributions electronically from employers, which ultimately is about reducing administration time that trustees have to spend. Once an SMSF trustee has an electronic service address they need to give this to their employer, so this is required. And if they fail to do this employers may send them a copy of the standard choice form that they need to complete and return within a defined period of time, so this is an avenue that employers have to get information from SMSF trustees. So I’d encourage you to tell your SMSF trustee clients to pass on that information so employers can send SuperStream compliant contributions. So they would be my tips for SMSF trustees.

    I’ll just pop you on mute and do a quick scan of the flurry that’s just come in.

    OK, thanks for bearing with me there. I had one person ask, so you talk about a genuine attempt to comply, what does that actually mean; what will the ATO be looking for? Essentially it means the ATO will be looking for a firm implementation plan, and the critical thing in this is a proposed start date. What is genuine is it’s a hard thing to define, but in this general context, and on a webinar, I’d say that the key thing that we’re looking for is a proposed start date. So for a small employer who needs to be ready from 1 July, the 1st of July 2015, we’re not expecting all small employers to be ready on that date, we do have a period in which we will be flexible. So if your employer clients, or if you’re an employer who’s not going to be ready say in July, have a plan to be ready in October or November by way of example. Go through the checklist, work out what you have to do, consider how much time it’s going to take you to do it – we suggest two to three months – and just map out that plan. The ATO, we are focusing on education and support, but we will be checking compliance, too. And having a bit of a project plan, an implantation plan is... we’ll be looking for evidence of that.

    Someone asked, OK so what are you doing around education and support, when this is actually a business to business change; where does the ATO fit in with all of this? You say it’s a different type of new measure, what does that mean? Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to clarify that. I guess the key thing is that the ATO is focused on connecting employers with SuperStream solutions, and we’re also working with solution providers, so accountants or bookkeepers, or super funds, to achieve compliance, so we’re working from both ends. We want to connect employers, and we want to make sure that those that provide solutions are ready. And these underpin and drive our activities and the ATO’s engagement, and the ATO’s marketing and communication activities.

    Look, we’re just drawing to the end of our time at Q&A. The questions have slowed down. I apologise if I haven’t got to your specific question. Unfortunately we’re just running out of time today. But I do thank you for your participation in this session, and the questions that you have asked are really going to help us refine our messaging, and your questions are probably largely representative of what others will ask us, too. So we will hopefully put up a couple of more frequently asked questions on our website to address the key themes and patterns coming through.

    I’ll just put another poll question to you, and this is going to seek your feedback on today’s Q&A session.

    [Pause on audio as people respond to the poll question – 54:13 – 54:35]

    Thank you very much for that feedback. It was a largely useful session for all of you. So look, we’re drawing close to the end of our time. Just wanted to say thank you for your time today, it was useful for us to hear your feedback and your comments, and I hope the content was useful for you today. Do have a look at our website. The slides will be available at some point shortly, and we will send an email link to you.

    But my last statement would be I wish you all the best in your implementation. Thank you very much for attending.

      Last modified: 02 Jun 2015QC 45415