SuperStream compliance statement – employers and SMSFs
From 1 July 2015, small business employers (with 19 or fewer employees) should have started using SuperStream. Small business employers must have completed their implementation by no later than 30 June 2016.
Large and medium employers (with 20 or more employees), Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) regulated funds and trustees of self-managed super funds (SMSFs) should already be SuperStream (the standard) compliant.
The SuperStream standard
The standard involves sending and receiving contributions electronically in a prescribed format, with linked data and payments. It prescribes the minimum data set and electronic payment options that can be used.
Some employers may implement SuperStream using an alternate SuperStream solution offered by an APRA-regulated super fund. Your default fund will inform you of these options if they are available, but it's up to you to determine your preferred solution.
The Commissioner of Taxation is responsible for ensuring employers and SMSF trustees comply with their obligations under the standard. APRA is responsible for ensuring the compliance of APRA-regulated super funds.
Helping you to comply
We recognise that implementing SuperStream represents a significant change and some small employers may not be SuperStream-ready by 30 June 2016.
Our first priority is to help you understand and comply with your obligations under SuperStream. This approach will not change after 1 July 2016.
We'll continue to support and work with you while you are finalising your implementation, and we'll be flexible about your start-up date if you're making a reasonable attempt to meet your obligations.
To this end, the Commissioner of Taxation recently announced that small employers have until 28 October 2016 to be fully SuperStream-compliant. This is similar to the compliance flexibility given to large and medium employers which had until the end of October 2015 to be fully SuperStream compliant.
This means we won't take direct compliance action against small employers who miss the 30 June 2016 deadline. Instead, we'll continue to provide education and support, including information on this website such as frequently asked questions, checklists and user guides.
We recognise that there may be circumstances, from time to time, where it's not possible for an employer or SMSF to comply with their SuperStream obligations. For more information on exceptional circumstances, see Employer FAQs: SuperStream.
Partnering with industry
It's to be expected that there will be some issues when the first SuperStream contributions are made. That's why we've asked super funds to put processes in place to support employers as this change occurs.
Funds will work with employers to make sure that contributions are sent electronically, payments and data are linked, and the required data is provided. We anticipate that the majority of SuperStream-related issues will be resolved during your first few contribution cycles.
However, if a super fund is unable to resolve significant issues experienced with an employer (for example, refusal to send contributions using SuperStream), they can provide this information to us.
We'll use this information to identify systemic issues that are impacting SuperStream implementation for small employers. For large and medium employers this information could initiate compliance activities or action. We'll undertake analysis to determine trends and hotspots to better inform our compliance approach.
Where systemic issues are identified, our compliance activities will focus on resolving common issues experienced across many employers or SMSFs.
If we receive information that a number of employers are not SuperStream compliant, we'll determine if there are patterns or common causes involved. Further analysis may reveal that the small employers are reliant on a single payroll provider, which is a common source of the problem. Our compliance approach would be to work in partnership with the payroll provider to ensure this is fixed at the earliest opportunity and stakeholders are kept informed. No compliance action would be taken in this situation.
End of example
From 1 November 2016, we'll increase our focus on small employers and SMSFs identified as not complying with their SuperStream obligations. We'll be looking to ensure that the contribution information and electronic arrangements specified by law are being complied with.
From 1 November 2015 we started to identify large and medium employers that were not meeting their SuperStream obligations with targeted client engagement activities.
We may contact employers and SMSF trustees to discuss their SuperStream readiness, to understand if there are any difficulties and to remind them of their legal responsibilities.
We have a range of compliance enforcement options we can apply if the behaviour of the employer or SMSF does not change. These include issuing a direction notice or applying administrative penalties for not complying with the SuperStream obligations set out in the Superannuation (Industry) Supervision Act.
For example, we may issue a direction notice that requires an employer or an SMSF to take certain actions (such as obtaining a certified SuperStream sending solution) to become compliant with the law. If the employer does not comply with the direction notice within 21 days, we may impose an administrative penalty of up to $1800.
These penalities will be imposed or remitted in line with our principles for applying administrative penalties generally. This includes not penalising entities that have made an honest and reasonable attempt to comply.
We may consider prosecution action if an entity persistently and consistently disregards its obligations under the standard.
We will also work in collaboration with APRA, which is responsible for ensuring APRA-regulated funds comply with their obligations under the standard.
Employers and self-managed super funds have certain obligations they must meet under the SuperStream standard. The ATO is helping them to comply with their obligations.