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Special report: Australian hotels told to get Super in order by tax office

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The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is telling small business owners with 19 or fewer employees they need to start paying super contributions and sending member information electronically through SuperStream.

The ATO’s new, streamlined process, which came into effect on 1 July, 2015, “provides a consistent and simplified way for employers to make super contributions on behalf of their employees” according to the government.

Under SuperStream, those responsible for paying super contributions for accommodation businesses will be able to pay super to multiple super funds through one channel – saving time and money.

Accommodation Association of Australia CEO, Richard Munro, told HM it was imperative small operators paid attention to the ATO’s recommendations.

“It is very important that accommodation providers comply with this new legislation, compliance to the law on all employee matters are critical to get right and members of the association can seek unlimited assistance as part of their membership by contacting the Industrial Relations team to check over any concerns,” he said.

“The new superannuation legislation requires all businesses to make super payments through a compliant online system… Businesses with less than 20 staff must be registered and making payments through SuperStream by the 1 July 2016.”

AAoA CEO, Richard Munro

AAoA CEO, Richard Munro

Intrust Super CEO, Brendan O’Farrell, told HM the ATO legislation requires “businesses to pay and report super contributions electronically, and to include specific data fields in a specific format, going forward”.

“Some of the data required under the new SuperStream rules were not required in the past,” he said.

He said leading super funds were able to assist small businesses in complying with the ATO requirements.

“As a solution, clearing houses such as Intrust Super’s SCH Online, not only meet the requirements of the legislation, but can make processes more efficient for businesses,” he said. “ In fact, the ATO claims that clearing houses have reduced the time businesses spend on superannuation by an average of 70%.

“Intrust Super underwent the implementation process with many larger businesses (20 or more staff) in 2015, as larger businesses had earlier deadlines.

“One of our key observations from that experience has shown that implementation can take time so smaller businesses should start assessing their options now.

“The good news is that implementing for many other businesses, we’ve identified and addressed most of the typical hurdles, issues and risks.

“Talk to your super fund for their expertise in preparing your business,” O’Farrell told HM.

Intrust's Brendan O'Farrell

Intrust’s Brendan O’Farrell

Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO, Carol Giuseppi, told HM it was important that employees’ interests were looked after.

“Most hotel groups are well covered in terms of automated superannuation payments to their employees, but for smaller hotels and other accommodation enterprises, the SuperStream system ensures that employee’s financial interests are looked after,” she said.

“With the increasing popularity of self-managed super funds and use of multiple funds, SuperStream is well placed to manage the increasingly complex system in an efficient and cost-effective manner,” Giuseppi told HM.

TAA's Carol Giuseppi

TAA’s Carol Giuseppi

Hostplus’ Executive Manager – Strategic Partnerships, Arthur Antonellos, told HM the organisation had a simple solution.

“To assist our employers in the hospitality, tourism, recreation and sport industries Hostplus has a simple online solution – QuickSuper,” he said.

“QuickSuper is a superannuation clearing house that is compliant with the new Data and Payment standards required.

“A clearing house allows you to make one contribution payment for all of your staff, across multiple superannuation funds with a simple, online system. QuickSuper is designed to save you time and help you get back to managing your business without getting weighed down by superannuation obligations.

“We’ve already assisted many employer members across the country to get ready for this change and QuickSuper is available free of charge for all registered Hostplus employers,” he told HM.

Arthur Antonellos Hostplus - EDITED

Hostplus’ Arthur Antonellos

Australian Taxation Office’s National Program Manager, Data Standards & E-Commerce (SuperStream), Philip Hind, said the ATO is assisting the accommodation, pubs and clubs industry over the coming weeks, sending important information to registered business owners via email, text message, contacting relevant industry associations and holding dedicated SuperStream webinars.

“There are many options available to get ready for SuperStream and I encourage those responsible for making superannuation contributions to ensure that they ready for the 30 June 2016 compliance deadline,” he said.

“The ATO’s employer checklist is a great place to start, or speak with your service provider, whether it is your accountant, bookkeeper, payroll provider, clearing house or super fund, they can help you become SuperStream compliant.

“We’re hearing positive feedback from those that have already implemented SuperStream. Employers who previously had to make contributions to multiple funds are telling us what used to take hours has now been reduced to minutes.”

The ATO said over 350,000 employers nationwide, including around 250,000 small employers, have already made the switch.

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