There are a number of numbers and identifiers relating to super funds, some of which are relevant for SMSFs, and some of which are not.
Looking for the SPIN, USI, SFN or ABN for a particular super fund. See if it’s on our list of super fund numbers.
SPIN – Superannuation Product Identification Number
As the standard choice form includes the question “Superannuation product identification number (if applicable)” SMSF professionals will often be asked, “What is my SMSFs SPIN number?”.
The Superannuation Product Identification Number (SPIN) is a number used in the financial services industry and by government bodies for electronic communication. The purpose of the SPIN was to provide an identifier at the product level, separate from those identifiers at the entity/legal structure level, such as the ABN or SFN. So a super fund may offer a retail superannuation plan and an employer superannuation plan and each of these would have a separate SPIN for identification purposes. The SPIN was used as part of the superannuation surcharge reporting, and now has some role in the SuperStream system, though this is partially superseded by the USI.
It was not intended that SMSFs have SPINs, and so instructions for forms asking for a SPIN often include ‘if applicable’ or include instructions to write “not applicable”
SPINs are also recognised by the following government bodies:
The SPIN directory is maintained by APIR Systems Limited.
USI – Unique Superannuation Identifier
The Unique Superannuation Identifier (USI) is a number used by large superannuation funds for communicating information about contributions and rollovers. It forms part of the SuperStream System, except for SMSFs, which use their ABN instead.
SFN – Superannuation Fund Number
A Superannuation Fund Number is a number issued to APRA regulated funds for identification purposes. An SMSF will not be issued an SFN as they are regulated by the ATO.
ESA – Electronic Service Address
While not a number the Electronic Service Address (ESA) is now part of the superannuation system as it is used in the SuperStream process. The ESA is used for the transfer of electronic data about contributions in the SuperStream system, and some other transactions for APRA funds. For SMSFs requiring an ESA the most likely source is from the SMSF messaging provider.
ABN – Australian Business Number
The Australian Business Number (ABN) is used as a public identifier, often where the fund doesn’t have another identifier, such as an SFN or USI. This contrasts with a private identifier – such as the TFN, which are used most often to identify a fund to the ATO. For SMSFs the ABN takes the place of the USI as part of SuperStream, and also allows the compliance status of SMSFs to be confirmed on Super Fund Lookup.
TFN – Tax File Number
The TFN is used primarily to indentify superannuation members and by the ATO for identifying SMSFs. The TFN is much more private than the above numbers and should only be given in limited circumstances. The Tax Laws Amendment (2011 Measures No. 2) Act 2011 made it easier for superannuation funds to use TFNs to identify members, including for finding lost super and consolidation super accounts.
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