• Employer SuperStream FAQs

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    What if I am not SuperStream ready?

    All employers should be paying super and sending the corresponding data in an appropriate electronic format.

    If your business is not doing this, you are not compliant with SuperStream. You need to take reasonable steps to find a SuperStream solution for your business.

    We will continue to educate and support businesses that are not yet SuperStream ready. You can also get help from your tax agent or bookkeeper, or speak to your super fund.

    Next steps:

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    Do I have to use SuperStream?

    If your business is making a super contribution to a super fund, this will need to be paid through a SuperStream solution.

    The exceptions to this rule are:

    • personal contributions – for example, if you are self-employed or a sole trader and make after-tax contributions to a super fund for yourself
    • contributions to your own self-managed super fund (SMSF) where you're a related-party employer – for example, if you are an employee of your family business and your super guarantee (SG) contributions go to your own SMSF.

    For these types of contributions you can continue using your previous processes. You can opt to use SuperStream if you wish.

    Note: You'll still need to use SuperStream for all other employer super contributions.

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    What if I already pay super to funds using EFT or BPAY?

    Even though you are already paying electronically, you may not be reporting your SuperStream data electronically. This data is important under SuperStream because it links a payment to an employee and tells their fund exactly how to allocate the contribution.

    If you are paying by EFT or BPAY but aren't sure if you are reporting the SuperStream data electronically, you should speak to your super fund. If they are unable to help you with reporting your data electronically, you should look at other SuperStream options available to you.

    Example: Making a contribution directly to a fund via BPAY

    Sharon's employer pays super for Sharon directly to QWERTY Super using BPAY each quarter. Sharon's employer does not give QWERTY Super any other information about the contribution.

    This does not comply with SuperStream, as only the payment is being sent electronically.

    Sharon's employer should talk to the fund to find out if the fund can help them meet the SuperStream data requirements. If the fund isn't able to help the employer, the employer will need to use another method to make super contributions that meet the SuperStream requirements.

    End of example

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    Do I have to use a clearing house?

    No. A clearing house is just one of the options available to you to meet your SuperStream obligations.

    Other options include your default fund, payroll software, or another service provider. You may wish to speak to your accountant, bookkeeper or adviser about this.

    You may be able to continue to contribute directly to each fund, as long as you send both the payment and information electronically. You should check with your fund to see if this is possible in your circumstances.

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    Do sole-traders or the self-employed need to use SuperStream?

    If you are self-employed or a sole trader (an unincorporated business) and you make your own contributions to a super fund, you can continue using your current processes.

    If you make SG contributions for any employees, these will need to be made using SuperStream.

    Do I have to use SuperStream if I am an employee or director of my own business?

    If you are a director or employee of your own business, and the business makes contributions for you to a super fund, these will need to made using SuperStream.

    If your business makes super contributions for you to your own SMSF, you can continue using your current processes.

    What if I have no or limited internet access or do not use electronic banking?

    All employers need to take reasonable steps to find a SuperStream solution that suits their business needs.

    If you are struggling to find a SuperStream solution, you should contact your super fund to discuss your options. They may be able to offer you a tailored payment option that meets the SuperStream requirements.

    You could also speak to a tax professional, such as a bookkeeper or accountant. You may be able to pay by cheque direct to them, if they can undertake the electronic transfer of the SuperStream information and payment on your behalf.

    It is important that you continue meeting your SG obligations until you can implement a SuperStream solution. You should continue your current super payment arrangements until you are able to implement SuperStream.

    We are currently working with the super industry to find a SuperStream solution for employers without internet access.

    What is a USI?

    A unique superannuation identifier (USI) is a series of letters and/or numbers that identify a super fund, or a particular super product it offers.

    A USI identifies where a super contribution needs to go. When you make a super contribution under SuperStream, the USI you include ensures your payment and all the other data you report make it to the right destination – your employee's super account.

    Most super funds have only one USI for all of their products, but some have a number of USIs for each super product they offer. This means it's important your employees tell you their specific super product, so you can make sure you use the right USI.

    A USI is publicly available information you can find on a super fund's website, or by using Super Fund Lookup. Note: Super Fund Lookup works best when you use a fund's Australian business number (ABN) to search.

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    What if I don’t get the information I need from employees with an SMSF?

    If you have employees with an SMSF you need to know their:

    • tax file number (TFN)
    • fund's ABN
    • fund's bank account details
    • fund's electronic service address.

    If an employee with an SMSF hasn't provided you with these details, you may be able to redirect their contributions to your default fund, subject to some conditions.

    You should follow these steps:

    1. Tell your employee what information you need and give them a reasonable period to respond.
    2. If you don't receive it, ask the employee to complete a Superannuation (super) standard choice form and return it to you within 28 days. This form will gather the SuperStream information you need.
    3. If you still don't receive the information, you may send their contributions to your default fund.

    You may still be able to give an employee more time to respond, but they need to provide you with this information before you start making SuperStream contributions.

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    Do the contribution payment and data need to be sent on the same day?

    Yes. You're required by law to send the payment and data on the same day. This lets the super fund reconcile your payment and data and allocate the contribution to the member account.

    If you're using a clearing house, make sure you've allowed sufficient time for the clearing house to reconcile your payment and data before they forward it to funds. Your super contribution is treated as paid only when it reaches the fund.

    How long does it take to process contributions?

    Generally an employee's super contribution is counted as being paid on the date their super fund receives it – not the date a clearing house receives it from you. So you need to know how long it takes for a contribution to be processed by a clearing house and made to a fund. That way you can make sure your payments arrive by the SG due dates.

    If you use a clearing house, processing times can vary. Check their terms and conditions on processing information and payments. Some clearing houses take 10 days to process, but others are quicker.

    If you use our Small Business Super Clearing House (SBSCH), your super obligations are met on the date the SBSCH accepts them (so long as the super fund doesn't reject the payments). This is because the SBSCH is an ‘approved clearing house’ under government regulations.

    Example: Timeframes when using a clearing house

    Midder Repairs uses a clearing house, Payroll Services Pty Ltd, to process super contribution payments and information for its employees. The clearing house has said it requires eight business days to process contributions.

    For SG contributions due on Wednesday 28 October, the employer must send the contribution payments and information to the clearing house on Monday 19 October (eight business days before the SG due date) to allow sufficient time for the contributions to be processed and forwarded to the super funds by the SG due date.

    End of example

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    How do I use SuperStream if I don’t have an ABN?

    If you're not entitled to an ABN, you can use your withholding payer number (WPN) to use SuperStream.

    Your WPN is found on your pay as you go (PAYG) withholding registration advice or your activity statement.

    A WPN isn't the same length as an ABN, so depending on your SuperStream solution you may need to:

    If you're eligible for an ABN but don't have one, you should register for an ABN at the Australian Business Register website.

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    How secure is SuperStream?

    All SuperStream transmissions are encrypted and use sending and receiving protocols that all parties must follow.

    Security of employee information starts with the employer, and should be considered from an end-to-end perspective in your dealings in the super system. This means you should:

    • implement best practices when personal information is stored in payroll solutions or transmitted over the internet
    • make sure any service providers you use for super have well-developed policies, terms and conditions governing security of information.

    We don't provide regulatory oversight of commercial clearing houses or other service providers. We do however operate the Small Business Super Clearing House and apply security practices in its operations, including interactions with employers and funds.

    We also provide stewardship and oversight of the SuperStream gateway network. All transactions processed in this network are encrypted according to the SuperStream standard, and best practice principles of security management are applied to gateway operators.

    Trustees of Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) funds are bound by the provisions of use in protecting member information under the Superannuation (Industry) Supervision Act and Privacy Act requirements. These requirements also apply to any outsourcing arrangements entered into by trustees, including the use of services providers such as clearing houses and gateways.

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    Last modified: 31 Oct 2016QC 47545