ATO extends SuperStream deadline for small businesses not yet compliant

With less than a week until the 30 June SuperStream compliance deadline, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has announced it will extend the deadline to small businesses until 28 October 2016.

Deputy Commissioner James O’Halloran said that it’s encouraging to see that 450,000 small businesses have implemented SuperStream ahead of the deadline.

“We expect that many more small businesses will be SuperStream compliant when they make their super contributions for the June quarter,” he said.

However, he noted that while many have made the change, some small businesses may need extra time and help to become SuperStream compliant.

“Through the ATO’s ongoing engagement with small businesses, we understand some need more time to implement their SuperStream solution or to work with a SuperStream expert to find a solution that suits their needs,” O’Halloran said.

“The ATO will not be taking compliance action against small businesses who miss the 30 June deadline and will continue to work to support them to get SuperStream ready.”

This means that small businesses will have an additional four months to make the changes and ensure they are compliant by 28 October.

SuperStream is the standardisation of how employers make super contributions on behalf of their employees. It involves employers sending all super payments and employee information electronically in a standard format and using it is mandatory.

Many businesses that have taken the time to find a SuperStream solution and have it up and running are experiencing the benefits, including an average time saving of 70 percent in meeting their superannuation obligations.

“This is also great news for the 88 percent or more than 10.5 million employees who are now receiving their super contributions in their accounts much quicker and with greater certainty due to SuperStream,” he said.

While all employers are required by law to comply with this legislation, MYOB’s research found that one quarter of businesses surveyed were unaware of the compliance deadline, 17 percent of operators had not yet complied and 13 percent were unsure.

This figure was the highest amongst construction and trade businesses with an overwhelming 31 percent of SMEs in this industry not having complied with the ATO’s SuperStream requirements.

When asked why operators had not yet met the SuperStream obligations, more than a quarter of SMEs found the process confusing, and a further 23 percent felt they did not have enough information.

You can select how your business becomes SuperStream ready. Options include using a payroll system that meets the standard, a super fund’s online system, a messaging portal or a super clearing house like the ATO’s Small Business Super Clearing House (SBSCH).

The SBSCH is a free, optional service for small business with 19 or fewer employees, as well as businesses with an annual aggregated turnover of $2 million or less.

Your business may already use one of these options to pay super, and you may only need to initiate a few simple changes to be SuperStream ready.

“Accountants and bookkeepers can provide this expert SuperStream advice. Support is also available from your super fund, payroll system provider, messaging portal provider or by contacting your super clearing house,” O’Halloran said.

Small businesses that need help with their SuperStream preparation can use the ATO’s employer checklist or register for a webinar.

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Chloe Potvin
Chloe Potvin is the former small business editor for Kochie's Business Builders.