Super for Beginners

by mutteringhousewife

I was going to write about the lemon ricotta muffins which are currently holding off my kids from eating the cat, but they’re going to have to wait. For I have spent the day deep in treasury and I think there’s a lot about super you don’t know. In fact, I’m sure there is.

You may think that you don’t need to know about super. What would I, a humble housewife, have to do with it anyway? I, my friends, am treasurer for the Sydney University Graduate Choir. They employ a conductor, a rehearsal pianist, orchestra members and soloists. They all have to be paid super. It’s all very unpleasant, but it’s true, I’ve tried to wriggle out of it. Not as hard as the musicians have, though, they hate all that financial stuff, except for the getting paid bit. If you are a not for profit, an association, a company, a family trust, incorporated or not, you have to pay super if you pay any individual over $450 in one month. It doesn’t matter if they give you an ABN or come through an agency, or if they try to have super waived in their contract, you still have to pay it. It doesn’t matter if they’re still studying at the Con. It doesn’t matter if they don’t even have a super fund. You have to pick one and set them up and pay it in there, causing them innumerable headaches in later life.

I tell you what, there’s a niche in the market for someone to cater to organisations like us. Medicare, don’t ask me why, run a clearing house to make it easy for small businesses to pay super to their less than twenty employees. Because of employee choice, most employees will have different super funds, which means that every quarter you have to make a payment to each of those twenty institutions, each of which have their own logins and methods of payment. Through Medicare you can just set it all up and type it in like a spreadsheet. We can’t have that though, oh no. We have more than twenty employees. Usually not all at the same time, and many of them only once before they become too expensive for us to afford. So after I pay their super I’ll get letters from their super funds for years after wondering why I’m not paying in a quarterly amount. I just toss them in the recycling. The system isn’t set up for organisations like ours.

There’s also the fairly important matter of calculating the amounts you are required to pay. Well, it’s just 9%, everybody knows that. Ah yes, but 9% of what? It took me ages to figure it out, I’m not the type just to tap it into a Super Calculator, I want to know what’s going on. We pay our artists nice round numbers. Say we agree to pay a lovely young soloist $600 for a moderately taxing role in the Messiah. $600 is the total amount we’re prepared to fork over, we’re not paying super on top of it. You might think that you calculate 9% of $600 and take it off the total, but you would be very very wrong indeed. $600 is the bucks that they get in their bank account plus their 9% super so, follow me closely here, $600 is actually 109% of the payment they get. You divide the $600 by 109 then multiply it by 100, shove that into their bank account and spend three hours attempting to put the rest into their super account.

Man I hope I’ve got all that right. Do you want to hear about the Register of Cultural Organisations next? It’s almost as riveting. Oh, and there’s the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission just fired up, it’s the next thing on my list to fill my fluffy little head with. Keeps me off the streets, you know.