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What is Single Touch Payroll (STP) and how will it affect my business?

According to the ATO, Single Touch Payroll is a reporting scheme that aims to introduce transparency in payroll reporting to ensure employers are meeting their obligations. This government initiative has been the single biggest move toward payroll centralisation since PAYG was introduced in 2000. It involves the streamlined reporting for salaries, wages, PAYG and superannuation as it’s processed each pay cycle. It was first announced in the Budget Savings (Omnibus) Act 2016 which can be viewed in full here

So, how does it work?  The procedure for STP reporting is geared to be quicker, more efficient and less administrative than it has been in the past. Once a pay is processed, all employee salary, PAYG and superannuation information will be remitted directly to the ATO online and also appear in an employee’s myGov profile. This can only be achieved with STP compliant software. Employers must check with their current software / payroll providers that this has been updated or acquire the necessary software and services in the case of having no provider.

Not everyone however, is required to report through Single Touch Payroll for the 2018/19 financial year. Only “substantial employers”- those with 20+ employees- are legally mandated to report, while those with 19 or less may report voluntarily. It’s important to note that once you begin reporting through STP as a ‘substantial employer’, you will need to continue doing so whether or not your employee numbers drop below 20 in the year. All employers regardless of size will be mandated to report through STP by July 2019 once the legislation is passed.

Is anyone exempt? Exemptions may be granted by the Commissioner of Taxation in extenuating circumstances: such as the business is located in a rural area with unreliable internet connection, employers that have 20+ employees for only a short period of time in a year (eg. harvesting) or employers that have been impacted by natural disaster. Also, the first 12 months from the onset of STP will be a transition period.  Employers will be exempt from administrative penalty should they fail to report on time.

Timeline for the Implementation of Single Touch Payroll:

– Sep 2017 ATO will write to ‘substantial employers’ to inform them of their reporting obligations
– Oct 2017 an increase in STP payroll solutions releases
– Apr 2018 headcount*
– Jul 1, 2018 STP will be mandatory for substantial employers
– Jul 1, 2019 STP will be mandatory for all employers

*According to the ATO, as at April 1, 2018 employers should conduct a headcount of employees and determine if they need to report through STP. It is important to classify people according to their employment status.  As employees (including casual employees who worked in March 2018 but may have terminated and seasonal employees) or other (casual employees who did not work in March 2018 prior to the April headcount, true independent contractors, and company directors). For more information please click here

E-Payoffice’s systems will be compliant for the July 2018 roll out, contact us now to find out more.

Resources for further information:
Are you ready for Single Touch Payroll?
Features of Single Touch Payroll here
Business Implementation Guide here