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  • Request stapled super fund details for employees

    From 1 November 2021, if you have new employees start and they don't choose a super fund, you may have an extra step to take to comply with choice of fund rules. You may need to request their ‘stapled super fund’ details from us.

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    Stapled super funds

    A stapled super fund is an existing super account linked, or 'stapled', to an individual employee so it follows them as they change jobs. This aims to reduce account fees, avoiding new super accounts being opened every time an employee starts a new job.If you don't meet your choice of super fund obligations, additional penalties may apply.

    We have a webcast which guides you through the changes and steps you'll need to take to request your employees stapled super funds.

    Media: Your Future Your Super – Employer Webcast Link (Duration: 24:56)

    Get ready

    To make sure you're ready to request stapled super fund details, check and update the access levels of your authorised representatives in ATO online services.

    An authorised representative will need to:

    • have full access in ATO online services, or havethe 'Employee Commencement Form' permission in ATO online services to request a stapled super fund
    • have this permission removed if they no longer need access, to protect your employees’ personal information.

    Visit Online services for business, or for information on setting permissions see using Access Manager – manage permissions.

    What to do from 1 November 2021

    You may need to request stapled super fund details when:

    • your new employee starts on or after 1 November 2021
    • you need to make super guarantee payments for that employee
    • your employee is eligible to choose a super fund, but doesn’t.

    You don’t need to offer a choice of super fund to some employees, but you may still need to request their stapled super fund details. This includes employees that are:

    • temporary residents
    • covered by an enterprise agreement or workplace determination made before 1 January 2021.

    Step 1: Offer eligible employees a choice of super fund.

    You need to offer your eligible employees a choice of super fund and pay their super into the account they tell you. Most employees are eligible to choose what fund their super goes into. They can choose a super account they already have, or choose your default fund.

    If you pay contractors mainly for their labour, they are employees for superannuation guarantee purposes and you may need to pay super to a fund for them. If you need to pay super and they do not make a choice, you will have to request a stapled super fund.

    There is no change to this step of your super obligations. If your employee has chosen a super fund, you can pay super contributions to the chosen fund.

    You can't provide recommendations or advice about super to your employees, unless you are licensed by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) to provide financial advice.

    See giving your employees information and advice.

    Step 2: Request stapled super fund details

    If your employee doesn’t choose a super fund, you may need to log into our online services to request their stapled super fund details. A tax practitioner can also do this for you.

    You’ll be able to request your employee’s stapled super fund after you have submitted a Tax file number declaration or Single Touch Payroll pay event, which identifies that you have an employment relationship.. There is no limit to the number of requests you can make.

    To request a stapled super fund, you, or your authorised representative, need to:

    1. log into ATO online services.
    2. enter your employee's details, including their:  
      • TFN – an exemption code can be entered where an employee can't provide their TFN, but this could result in processing delays
      • full name – including ‘other given name’ if known
      • date of birth
      • address (residential or postal), if TFN not given. 
    3. Our online system will use rules based on the regulations to work out and return a stapled super fund in response to a request.

    You should be notified of the result of the stapled super fund request (on-screen) within minutes.

    We will notify your employee of the stapled super fund request and the fund details we have provided.

    If the request was made on your behalf by an authorised representative, we will notify you of the outcome of that request.

    We will be monitoring the service to ensure employers are using it appropriately and making genuine requests for stapled super fund details.

    Note: If you are unable to access online services, for example you are located overseas, please contact us on 13 10 20 to request details of a stapled super fund.

    Before providing information over the phone, we must establish the identity of the person making the request. If you do not have access to Online Services for Business, the primary contact for your business with the ATO will first need to contact the ATO to provide you with authority to request stapled super fund details on their behalf.

    See primary contact and authorised contacts for more information.

    Stapled super fund won't accept contributions

    If the stapled super fund account provided by us can't accept contributions for the employee, you should make another request for the employee’s stapled super fund via ATO online services.

    If the same stapled super fund account is returned, call us on 13 10 20 to obtain an alternative stapled super fund account. If there is no alternative fund, we can advise whether contributions can be made to your default fund or another fund that meets the choice of fund rules.

    Types of stapled super funds

    Any eligible fund, including a defined benefit fund, can be provided as a stapled super fund. However, some defined benefit accounts may not be able to accept contributions from all employers.

    If a stapled super fund request returns a self-managed super fund, you should obtain the electronic services address and bank account details from your employee. If the employee will not supply these details, call us.

    Step 3: Pay super into the stapled super fund

    If we provide a stapled super fund result for your employee, you must pay your employee’s super guarantee contributions to the stapled super fund details we provide.

    You can pay into your default fund, or another fund that meets the choice of fund rules if:

    • your employee doesn’t choose a super fund, and
    • we have advised you that they don’t have a stapled super fund.

    Bulk requests

    A bulk request form will be available if you need to request stapled super fund details for over 100 new employees at once. Bulk requests will have a service standard of up to five business days.

    To prove you have an employment relationship, you must first submit a Tax file number declaration or Single Touch Payroll pay event. You will then be able to request your employee’s stapled super fund using the bulk request form.

    The bulk request is a .xls or .xlsx file that can be downloaded from 1 November 2021. You will need to enter the following details:

    • Your details:  
      • business name
      • business Tax file number (TFN) or Australian business number (ABN).
    • Employee details:  
      • TFN (exemption codes can be used)
      • given name
      • other given name
      • last name
      • date of birth
      • postal or residential address indicator (P or R)
      • address including address line 1, address line 2, suburb/town, state/territory, postcode, country.
    • If your authorised representative is lodging on your behalf, they will also need to enter the following details:  
      • registered agent number
      • registered agent ABN. 

    Once the file is completed, you can submit it through the secure mail function within Online services for business or Online services for agents (if lodged by an authorised representative).

    Once the file is processed, you will receive a response through the secure mail function within online services. The response message will contain the file submitted to us with the outcomes of the stapled super fund request for each employee.

    Meeting your obligations

    We are committed to helping employers and their agents understand and become familiar with the new requirements related to stapled super funds.

    We will support employers with help and assistance as a first step to improving compliance, recognising initial non-compliance may be a result of a lack of knowledge or business readiness. We recognise that despite an employer or agent's best efforts, genuine mistakes and misunderstandings will occur.

    For information on failing to meet your obligations see super guarantee penalties.

    Last modified: 21 Oct 2021QC 66591