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The ATO responds to an issue re-raised by MEMBER 14 in 2014 TaxVine No 7 (21 March 2014) about difficulties with the requirement on SMSFs to receive super contributions from 1 July 2014 electronically.

“Thank you for your query relating to SuperStream.

The introduction of SuperStream represents a significant change in the way that employers will make superannuation contributions, especially for many small employers who do not currently operate in an e-commerce environment.

In legislating this change, the government took the view that it was desirable to allow small employers as much time as practicable to get ready and so provided for a later start date. Medium to large employers (those with 20 or more employees) will progressively start using SuperStream from 1 July 2014, while small employers must begin using the standard from 1 July 2015. On a voluntary basis, you can expect some small employers to start earlier.

Trustees of funds, whether an APRA-regulated or self-managed super fund, are required to be able to receive employer contributions made in accordance with the SuperStream standard from the date that the first conforming payments are made by an employer.

The ATO does not expect all employers to comply with SuperStream from day one. The ATO’s policy is to support employers with an education and help program through the first 12-18 months of implementation and then gradually increase its focus on compliance. Throughout this period all employers are still required to meet their superannuation guarantee obligations, even if this is not done in a conforming electronic format. Trustees should continue to accept contributions during this period, including in cheque and paper format, but are encouraged to seek advice from an employer about their expected implementation date.

Once SuperStream is implemented, persistent instances of non-compliance with the standard can be reported to the ATO.”