The Australian Taxation Office this week issued an information sheet about recent and future changes to superannuation. In what almost reads as a press release for the Gillard government, it detailed the improvements that the government will be making to "protect and grow the savings of all Australians".
The information sheet was split into three sections detailing the changes affecting individuals, employers and SMSF trustees.
The changes outlined for individuals covered the increase in the compulsory employer super contribution rate that will apply from July 1, 2013, the new information to be included on pay slips by employers relating to superannuation contributions and a new system for helping people find lost super.
This new system, called SuperSeeker, allows people to log on to a secure online service and, using their tax file number, view details of all of their active superannuation accounts. The site, superseeker.super.ato.gov.au, will also detail any lost super held by the ATO on their behalf and provides them with one simple form to request a transfer of superannuation between accounts.
In addition to their tax file number, anyone wanting to use the SuperSeeker site will need two of the following documents to create a secure login:
A notice of assessment or super account member statement not more than five years old.
Bank account details, a PAYG payment summary, a dividends statement or a Centrelink payment summary not more than two years old.
One of the changes detailed that does not have a start date will require employers to put super contribution information on each employee's pay slip. What information must be shown has not been specified.
This measure is expected to enable employees to more easily monitor whether employers are making the required super contributions, and details steps that can be taken to have the situation corrected if they aren't.
The information sheet detailed three changes being passed by Parliament and that the ATO says are improvements to help people more easily increase their money and be protected for the future. These changes include:
A Commonwealth government super contribution of up to $500 for eligible low-income workers that earn less than $37,000 a year.
The increase in the compulsory employers' contribution from 9 per cent to 12 per cent.
The removal of the upper age limit of 70 for compulsory employer super contributions.
The low-income super contribution came into effect on July 1. The increase in the compulsory employer super contribution rate, from 9 per cent to 9.25 per cent, and the removal of an upper age limit, apply from July 1, 2013.
Slipping back into PR mode the ATO, under the heading "Making it fairer for everyone", detailed the concessional super contribution limits for the 2013 financial year. Having only one contribution limit of $25,000 for everyone, considering that people who were 50 or older before July 1, 2007, had a contribution limit of more than $100,000, seems far from fair.
The information on SMSFs detailed the changes relating to keeping SMSF investments separate valuing investments at market value new regulations relating to collectable investments and the need to regularly review the investment strategy for SMSF.
Interestingly, the requirement for SMSFs to consider insurance for members was not included.
This information sheet, although appearing to be a big endorsement of Gillard government policies, does provide valuable information and can be found at ato.gov.au/content/00320488.htm.