B2B Payments

Australian Small Business Retirement Payments Stuck By System Glitch

Small businesses in Australia were hit by a system glitch affecting superannuation payment processing, according to reports in SmartCompany on Monday (April 23).

An estimated 19,000 transactions by small businesses, which are a more tax-efficient way for employees to build up retirement savings, were stuck in the “waiting for payment” mode, reports said, while some employers said the initiated payments never actually landed in employee super accounts.

The glitch comes several weeks after management of the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House platform was transferred from the government’s Department of Human Services to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Reports of super payment delays first emerged earlier this month, reports said; the ATO confirmed these issues several days later, noting that the glitch is “impacting the processing and crediting of payments to some employee’s super fund accounts.”

The publication spoke with Tony Greco, general manager of technical policy at the Institute of Public Accountants, who said small businesses and their accountants are concerned about the issue.

“We have been contacted by a number of members saying, ‘What the hell is going on?’” he told the publication, noting that, while nothing has been confirmed, it appears the government did not adequately test the new system before rolling it out.

“It’s quite clear from the date they introduced the services it wasn’t ready,” said Greco. “Waiting for the clearing house to do its bit has created a lot of angst. Again, we ask, where is the user testing?”

According to the ATO, the problem has been fixed. It added that 70 percent of super payments made through the platform process in fewer than 10 days.

“As of 11 April approximately 19,000 individual payments had been delayed for more than 20 days,” the ATO said in a statement. “We have now released these payments and have begun assurance work to ensure this has been successful.”

The glitch occurred as the nation is gearing up for Single Touch Payroll to rollout over the next two years, which some experts say could introduce even more chances for errors.

“With Single Touch Payroll, that’s an awful lot of information coming in,” said Council of Small Business Australia Chief Executive Peter Strong, who added that, “at the moment, there’s a lot of glitches” with services offered by the ATO.

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