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The Australian Taxation Office has urged small businesses to be aware of changes to their superannuation obligations, with reforms set to launch on 1 July.

An increase in the superannuation guarantee rate from 9 to 9.25 percent will come into effect this year, with the existing upper age limit of 70 also being removed.

“Employers will need to ensure their payroll and accounting systems are able to cater for the gradual increase in the super guarantee rate and removal of the upper age limit,” says Alison Lendon, Deputy Commissioner of Superannuation.

Businesses will also need to comply with a new super data and e-commerce standard, which will allow employers to send contributions to all funds in one standard electronic format.

Employers with 20 or more employees must meet the standard by 1 July 2014, with businesses with 19 employees or less given until 1 July 2015.

The standard is expected to result in fewer data quality issues, fewer lost accounts and unclaimed monies, and lower overall processing costs.

Lendon has urged employers with 19 or fewer employees to take advantage of the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House, a free service that allows super contributions to be paid in one transaction.

“The service helps reduce administration costs and helps you to meet your obligations,” she says.

A new product called MySuper is also being launched, replacing existing default super fund products.

Employers must make super guarantee payments for employees who have not selected a preferred fund to a fund that offers a MySuper product by 1 January 2014.

With most existing default funds already offering a MySuper product, many employers won’t have to make any changes to payments.

“Your fund should contact you to advise that they will offer a MySuper product, and any changes to the entitlements of your employees,” Lendon says.

Though Lendon believes small businesses have plenty of time to prepare, she says it’s important to be aware of upcoming changes, and advises employers to contact their fund if they’re unsure of any changes.

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Gina Baldassarre

Gina Baldassarre

Gina is a journalist at Dynamic Business. She enjoys learning to ice skate and collecting sappy inspirational quotes.

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