Monday, February 15, 2010
As part of the Tax Laws Amendment (2010 Measures No.1) bill, the Australian government has introduced legislation into parliament which provides the framework for its free superannuation contributions clearing house service for small businesses.
"This is an important measure which will deliver real benefits to small business," the Minister of Superannuation, Chris Bowen, said. The amendments in the bill allow for participating small businesses to meet their obligations by promptly remitting their employees’ superannuation contributions by one electronic payment to the approved clearing house, which will then distribute the transactions on their behalf to the chosen funds.
The amendments also extend the conditions under which superannuation contributions are made in compliance with the choice of fund rules to cover contributions made through the approved clearing house, and allow for the disclosure of taxpayer information to the approved clearing house for the purpose of performing its functions.
In November 2009, the government announced that its superannuation clearing house service for small business will be delivered through Medicare Australia. Following the passage of the bill, a regulation will be made specifying Medicare Australia as the approved clearing house for the purposes of the legislation.
The clearing house service will be available to eligible small businesses (those with fewer than 20 employees) from July 2010. Businesses will be able to register with Medicare Australia from May 2010.
Medicare Australia has convened two working groups to consult on the implementation of the measure. The working groups, which include representatives from the superannuation industry and the small business sector, held their first meetings in January 2010.