FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
FAQs for Accountants and Administrators
FAQs for Trustees
FAQs for Employers
Q. What is SuperStream?
A. With the introduction of SuperStream, SMSFs are required to receive employer super contributions using the Government’s SuperStream Data and Payment Standard.
The Standard is part of the Government’s Stronger Super initiative and introduces a streamlined method of sending superannuation payments and associated information electronically. To comply, every SMSF that receives employer contributions needs an electronic service address (ESA) and the software to receive their SuperStream data. Trustees need to provide this address to their employer in order to receive their contributions.
SMSF DataFlow provides all of this functionality at no cost and for as long as required.
Q. Is SuperStream a positive move for the superannuation industry?
A. Yes. In an industry prone to complexity, SuperStream will remove inefficiencies in the system and promote simplicity. Specifically, SuperStream will deliver a more timely and reliable flow of payments and information about the contributions to an SMSF. It will also provide an electronic record to support tax and accounting obligations.
Employers will also benefi,t as SuperStream simplifies the way in which they meet super guarantee obligations and applies consistency to the method of payment.
Q. What are the key dates?
A. SMSFs had to be ready to receive employer contributions in the new SuperStream format from 3 November 2014. The rules do not apply to SMSFs that do not receive contributions or to contributions made by a related party to the SMSF.
Employers with 20+ employees will be required to comply from 1 July 2014, although these employers have until 30 June 2015 to finalise their implementation. For all other employers, SuperStream commences 1 July 2015, and they have until 30 June 2016 to finalise their implementation plans.
Q. When will contributions start to flow?
A. This may take some time as employers work to become SuperStream ready. The first induction group has been successfully processed and large employers (with 20 or more employees) are gearing up for the change. Small employers (with 19 or less employees) have until 30 June 2015 before SuperStream starts, and until 30 June 2016 to complete implementation plans.
There is a chain of dependencies that needs to occur for contributions to flow through to SMSF DataFlow:
- The trustee needs to have obtained their ESA from SMSF DataFlow
- Each SMSF member then needs to provide the ESA to their employer
- The employer needs to be SuperStream ready and pay in the new format
- The payment is then received and processed by the SuperStream gateway and the contributions can then be accessed from SMSF DataFlow.
Q. What is an ESA again?
A. An Electronic Service Address (ESA) is effectively the name of a "virtual post office" that will receive your SuperStream data. The SMSF's ABN is used as the "virtual post box" number for holding the messages for a specific fund.
As long as an employer knows a fund's ABN and ESA then they can send SuperStream messages. Of course they also need to know your bank account and BSB to make the actual payment.)
The ESA for SMSF DataFlow is: smsfdataflow
Q. What contribution types are supported?
A. The following contribution types are supported:
- Superannuation Guarantee
- Award or Productivity
- Salary Sacrificed
- Employer Voluntary
- Other Third Party
Q. Why are you doing this for free? Are there strings attached?
A. SMSF DataFlow is powered by Class Super (Class). Class is a technology leader and innovator in the SMSF software space. Class pioneered the use of cloud technology and direct-connect data feeds in the SMSF market.
In just 6 years Class has grown to become a successful and profitable business. Our software is used by thousands of accountants and other SMSF professionals to administer over 70,000 SMSFs.
As a "challenger" brand that prides itself on technology leadership and innovation, it was always our intention to provide a free and integrated solution for our current users.
When we looked at the SuperStream standard we realised that:
1. Portablility and openness (ensuring that SuperStream works even if you change accountants, administrators, bank accounts etc.) is critical to the success of SuperStream for SMSFs. Having SMSFs locked-in makes it harder for clients to move and we'd like everyone to have the opportunity to move easily if they wish.
2. We could raise market awareness of Class Super's technical expertise and we could showcase our technology to accountants and other SMSF professionals. If they like what they see with SMSF DataFlow then they might take a look at what Class Super can do to automate the rest of their SMSF administration
3. Due to economies of scale the cost of providing a solution for the whole market was only marginally more than the cost of just solving the problem for our own users; in fact the incremental amount was so small that we decided we would just cover the cost ourselves.
After that, the decision to provide a free, open and portable solution was easy.
FAQs for Accountants and Administrators
Q. What can I do to help my trustees?
A. You can help your trustees in three ways:
1. First, explain to them that SuperStream is a simple and practical measure designed to reduce complexity and the potential for error in the superannuation system.
2. Second, inform your trustees that they need to pick a SuperStream provider, such as SMSF DataFlow, which will then provide them with an ESA (Electronic Service Address).
- SMSF DataFlow is free, open and portable and will work with any SMSF administration software.
- Additionally, the solution works for all accountants and all trustees for as long as required – it doesn’t matter what software an accountant uses or what bank account a SMSF chooses.
- Using SMSF DataFlow, accountants and administrators can register their SMSF clients in bulk and access the contribution data they need.
- SMSF DataFlow is a recognised SuperStream provider by the ATO. For a full list of providers you can refer to ato.gov.au/superstream.
3. Then all your trustees need to do to be compliant is give the ESA to their employer.
4. Remind trustees that if they are required to provide an ESA to their employer, and fail to do so, their employer may send them a Standard Choice form for completion and return within a defined time period (eg 28 days). If they fail to return the form, their contributions will be paid to the employer's default fund.
Q. Do I need to use Class Super for SMSF DataFlow to work?
A. No. You can use any software solution, or no software solution at all. SMSF DataFlow provides you with a "virtual post box" that collects your messages.
You can download your contribution data in bulk when the time comes to prepare accounts.
Q. My software vendor says I must pay to use their solution or I won't be compliant, is that true?
A. No. If an SMSF registers with any recognised provider, such as SMSF DataFlow, and the members provide the ESA to each of their employers, then the SMSF is compliant.
Q. How do I load SMSF DataFlow data into my "basic GL" system or other software?
A. Depending on the openness of your software you might be able to import the data directly. If your provider is willing to support a file import or a direct-connect data feed from SMSF DataFlow, we'll work with them to build it.
If an import feature is not available with your current superannuation administration software, you can continue to use the processes you do today e.g. use transaction rules to automatically post contributions or code in the transactions manually.
Q. I use Class Super, do I need to import data from SMSF DataFlow?
A. No. Class Super users get a direct-connect data feed from SMSF DataFlow so you don't need to load the data.
Loading will happen overnight as soon as the data arrives. The data is automatically matched with your direct-connect bank transaction feed and journals are automatically posted.
FAQs for Trustees
Q. How will SuperStream affect my fund?
A. SuperStream is a streamlined method of sending superannuation payments electronically and it will have a positive effect by removing the potential for error in the transmission of information about who a superannuation payment is for, and what type of contribution it is.
Q. What do I need to provide to my employer?
A. You need to provide your e-commerce details to your employer. These details consist of:
- your SMSF's ABN
- your SMSF's bank account details (BSB and account number)
- an electronic service address (ESA)
You can forward these details directly to your employer using SMSF DataFlow. We suggest you contact your employer to ensure they have the right details on file and to confirm the date they are planning to be SuperStream ready.
Q. What if I don't provide this information to my employer on time?
A. If you don't provide the information to your employer on time, they will not be able to send contributions to your fund and may request that you complete a Standard Choice form within a reasonable period of time (example - 28 days). If you fail to provide the form within the given timeframe, your employer may direct contributions made on your behalf to their default fund.
Q. There are a lot of people telling me I should use their solution for SuperStream, so why should I choose Class Super's SMSF DataFlow?
A. SMSF Dataflow is free, open and portable. It does not matter who you are or what SMSF administration software your accountant or administrator is using, you can still use SMSF Dataflow. It will not cost you a cent, whereas if you are not using SMSF DataFlow your provider may charge you a fee. This could cost you anywhere from around $7 to $50 a year.
Q. Do I need to ensure that superannuation administration software integration exists to get the benefit of SuperStream?
A. No. One big benefit of SuperStream is that, regardless of integration you will have a report to provide to your accountant as an audit record, checklist and/or confirmation if there are any queries.
If your accountant’s administration software provider will not integrate to your chosen SuperStream solution, you're still SuperStream compliant and your accountant/administrator can still process contributions as they do today.
FAQs for Employers
Q. What are employers required to do?
A. As part of the SuperStream reforms, employers are required to send superannuation contribution payments and associated data to funds in an electronic format using the new Data and Payments Standard.
The changes also mean that employers can no longer make contributions using cheques unless contributing to a related party.
The ATO has prepared a short video to help employers understand their SuperStream requirements.
For funds where an ESA has not yet been recorded, the ATO recommends notifying employees with an SMSF of the intended date that employer contributions will be send via SuperStream and request that their fund information is provided within a reasonable timeframe. Following this, a Standard Choice form should then be supplied to any employees that have not provided details by the requested date.
In the event that the information is still not supplied by the employee with in requested timeframe (eg 28 days), you can then redirect the employee's contributions to your default fund.
This preparation for SuperStream should be finalised 30 days before your business starts sending contributions using SuperStream.
Q. What are the relevant SuperStream dates?
A. Medium to large employers (with 20 or more employees) are required to comply from 1 July 2014. However, they have until 30 June 2015 to complete implementation. Small employers (with 19 or less employees) have until 1 July 2015 before SuperStream starts, and until 30 June 2016 to complete implementation plans.
Small employers can also utilise the free services offered by the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House to streamline compliance. More information on this service can be found here.
Q. Are there different rules for related party employers?
A. A SuperStream exemption exists where contributions to a SMSF are made by a related party employer. This generally occurs where a business is run by one or more of the members of a SMSF which the business is contributing to. The Data and Payments Standard is not compulsory where this occurs, but can still be utilised if preferred.
Q. What do I do with the ESA notifications that I receive from employees?
A. SMSF members are required to provide their chosen Electronic Service Address (ESA) to their employer in order to be SuperStream compliant. Once you have obtained this notice it is important that you store the ESA in your payroll system.
When you start to use the new format, employees with SMSFs will be able to access their contribution information through SMSF DataFlow.
Q. How can I assist my employees in obtaining an ESA for their SMSFs?
A. If your employees have not yet registered with a service provider they can register with SMSF DataFlow free of charge. The service will allow them to comply with SuperStream and is available regardless of the bank account used by their SMSF or the software selection of their accountant.
A complete listing of service providers, including SMSF DataFlow, can be found here on the ATO’s site.
We’ve also prepared an FAQ page for trustees to help them to understand and comply with the SuperStream reforms.
Q. Can you direct me to more useful ATO resources?
A. You may find the following links useful: