SBSCH and SMSF bank account validation

With the year-on-year growth in the number of SMSFs in Australia, the ATO is finally rolling out a extra security feature for SMSFs that use the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House (SBSCH) in terms of bank account validation. 

Briefly, the SBSCH is a free, online superannuation payments service that small businesses can use to pay their super contributions in one transaction. It is designed to simplify the process of making superannuation contributions on behalf of employees. The service is available to small businesses with 19 or fewer employees or businesses with an annual aggregated turnover of less than $10 million. 

The SBSCH is part of ATO online services and allows employers to meet their superannuation guarantee obligations easily. By using the clearing house, employers can make a single electronic payment to the SBSCH, which then distributes the funds to each employee’s super fund or SMSF. This service helps reduce the time and paperwork associated with superannuation contributions for multiple employees across different super funds. 

The rollout of the new security feature, expected around 15 March 2024, will check whether an employee’s SMSF bank account details match their SMSF records. Where there is a mismatch, or where an employee has not listed their bank account details, the employer will receive an “invalid super fund bank details” error on the SBSCH payment instruction. According to the ATO, where this error occurs, the SBSCH cannot accept payments to an employee’s SMSF until it is resolved. To resolve this error, the ATO recommends employers check with employees that their SMSF’s bank account details exactly match those listed on the SMSF records. If those details are incorrect, or if there are no details listed, the employee should approach the trustee of the fund or a tax professional associated with the fund to update the information through ATO online services. Employees with SMSFs are encouraged to ensure that fund details are correct ahead of the change to avoid any delays in their super. 

Where the discrepancy is resolved, employers will be able to update the employee’s SMSF bank details in SBSCH and submit payment instructions. To avoid delays for other employees, the ATO notes that SBSCH payment instructions can still be submitted for employees with valid super fund details ahead of resolution of any discrepancy. This security feature is just one of many that the ATO has been rolling out late last year and early this year to safeguard retirement savings held in SMSFs from fraud and misconduct. For example, the ATO commenced sending rollover alerts to members of SMSFs when a super fund uses the SMSF verification service to verify a fund’s details with the intent to roll super benefits into an SMSF. This alerts members of SMSFs to an unauthorised rollover and potentially stop it in its tracks. Other alerts for SMSF changes have also been implemented by the ATO to tackle fraudulent use of taxpayer details to register new SMSFs. These are often then used to commit further offences, such as illegal early release. Taxpayers that have been alerted by the ATO in relation to a change made to an existing SMSF should either contact the trustees or the tax professional associated with the fund to verify the change in the first instance. Where it is subsequently determined that the change was incorrect or unauthorised, taxpayers are encouraged to contact the ATO immediately.

Speak to one of our accountants if you have any questions about the changes in tax for 2023.