Understanding SuperStream

This article aims to provide an overview of SuperStream, the compliance requirements and the options for JCurve customers to ensure they are compliant employers.

 

What is SuperStream?

SuperStream is a new superannuation data and payment standard enforced by the Australian Federal Government, whereby all employers need to submit their super details electronically. This includes their employee details and the amounts of super being paid. Super contribution payments must also be paid by electronic means.

With payment of super contributions, the employee data and the funds are linked with a unique payment reference number, enabling super contributions to be verified and ensure employees are receiving the correct super contributions owed to them.

 

Why is it important?

Previously, employers could pay superannuation to their employees’ chosen super funds without any particular standard. There was also no compulsory reporting to the ATO about the super amounts being paid.

For further detail on the current process, please see the SuperStream – Pre-July 2015 workflow.

 

How do employers ensure they’re SuperStream compliant?

Using a clearing house can ensure an employer’s contributions to employee super are SuperStream compliant. How employers choose to update employee information and make payments to the clearing house is an agreement between that employer and the chosen clearing house.

 

So… what’s a clearing house then?

Clearing houses are designed as a means of simplifying and managing the payment of superannuation to your employees. They can accept a single, direct payment (usually via EFT) and manage the multiple payments to employee super funds in a SuperStream compliant manner. Many major superannuation funds have already chosen to become SuperStream compliant by partnering with a clearing house.

For further detail on how the clearing house process works, please see the SuperStream – Clearing House Process workflow.

The Australian Government has its own clearing house for small businesses with 19 or fewer employees, called the Small Business Super Clearing House (SBSCH). This is a free online super payment service which can assist with employers becoming SuperStream compliant.

Some other clearing houses include:

- ClickSuper
SuperChoice
– QuickSuper

Benefits of using a clearing house:
– One payment can be made for all employees, regardless of which super funds they belong to
– Some are free to use
– You can obtain a record of your contribution history whenever you need it
– It helps minimise the time and paperwork involved in paying contributions to numerous individual super funds
– As the clearing house is working on your behalf, the SuperStream standard does not prescribe how you send your super information to them. Note: The chosen clearing house should be contacted to confirm how they can accept super data coming from you.

Employers should contact clearing houses directly to confirm which are free or charged services and/or the right option for them.

 

I’m using a Self Managed Super Fund (SMSF). How does this change things?

It doesn’t have to – there are a number of clearing houses who specifically deal with SMSFs and are already SuperStream compliant. SMSF administrators can find further information about compliant clearing houses on the ATO’s website:

https://www.ato.gov.au/Super/SuperStream/In-detail/Contributions/SMSF-messaging-service-providers/

ClickSuper is one clearing house we’re aware of, who deals with SMSFs.

 

Are there any changes in JCurve?

Yes – JCurve now includes a Unique Superannuation Identifier (USI) field against the super fund record.

As part of the SuperStream compliance, super funds now need a USI, which replaces the Superannuation Product Identification Number (SPIN) used previously. The new USI is a unique identifier of the super fund’s product. This information, along with the employee’s Tax File Number (TFN) is sent through in a clearing houses’ electronic communications to the super funds and to the ATO.

For SMSFs, there is also an Electronic Service Address (ESA) field against the super fund record – this is an additional requirement for SMSFs.

The “Employee Super Funds” and “Super Funds” pages in JCurve (under the Manage Super Funds option in the Payroll drop down menu) have also been updated to include the USI and ESA fields.

 

Will JCurve send super information directly to my clearing house?

Not as standard. It’s up to the employer to populate and update employee details within their chosen clearing house’s system.

There is, however, an additional ClickSuper integration module available which helps automate the process. JCurve’s integrated payroll system was written by Infinet Cloud Solutions, who directly offer this ClickSuper integration module at an additional cost with their Advanced Payroll Module. Please contact Infinet Cloud Solutions if you’re interested in upgrading your payroll module to include this feature and more.

This integrated solution is not required in order to be SuperStream compliant, but can make the overall process quicker and easier for employers to manage.

For further information on the difference between the standard clearing house process and the integrated clearing house solution, please see the SuperStream – Clearing House (No Integration) workflow and the SuperStream – Clearing House (Integration) workflow.

 

I use JCurve payroll which calculates super for me. Why can’t I just pay directly to the super fund using JCurve?

- JCurve Payroll isn’t a payment system – rather, it assists with the calculations and management of the recording and reporting for your pay and super contributions to your employees.
– Clearing houses are designed as a means of managing and simplifying the actual payment of superannuation to your employees. This is why clearing houses are an important part of the SuperStream compliance solution.

 

If you still want to know more…

The ATO has published documentation on their website which talks more in-depth about SuperStream. They’ve also published overviews of the SuperStream process on their YouTube channel – a couple of these are included as below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KP1zv1Q6So

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nL7rknAoxI

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