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  • Get ready for Single Touch Payroll

    You may need to determine if Single Touch Payroll (STP) applies to you in the 2018–19 financial year. Only employers with 20 or more employees need to start reporting from 1 July 2018.

    To find out if STP applies to you, count the employees who were on your payroll on 1 April 2018. Count each employee, not their full time equivalent (FTE).

    If your headcount totals 20 or more employees you will need to:

    • report through STP from 1 July 2018
    • continue reporting through STP even if your employee numbers drop to 19 or less.

    If your headcount totals less than 20 employees:

    • you do not need to start STP reporting in 2018–19, even if your employee numbers rise during the year
    • you will need to do a headcount again on 1 April 2019.

    You don't need to send us your headcount information. This is for you to determine if you need to start STP reporting from 1 July 2018. You may want to keep a copy for your own records.

    If you are part of a company group, you must include the total number of employees employed by all member companies of the wholly-owned group.

    See also:

    How to count your employees

    Who to include in your headcount

    Include the following in your headcount:

    • full-time employees
    • part-time employees
    • casual employees and seasonal workers who were on your payroll on 1 April and worked any time during March – there are exemptions to counting seasonal workers who were employed for a short time only
    • employees based overseas
    • any employee absent or on leave (paid or unpaid).

    Who not to include in your headcount

    Don't include the following in your headcount:

    • any employees who ceased work before 1 April
    • casual employees who did not work in March
    • independent contractors
    • staff provided by a third-party labour hire organisation
    • company directors
    • office holders
    • religious practitioners.

    Directors, office holders and religious practitioners are not included in the headcount. They are not considered employees within the common law meaning of the term.

    However, when you start reporting through STP you will need to report their payment information. This is because the payments are subject to withholding and are currently reported in the form PAYG payment summary – individual non-business (NAT 0046).

    Find out more:

    Get ready for STP checklist

    Once you've determined you need to report through STP in the 2018–19 financial year, you will need to get ready. To do this:

    Speak to your payroll software provider  

    Find out how your payroll software provider will offer STP reporting – this may be through an update to your existing software, or an additional service. Also remember to:

    • check if they have a deferred start date for your product
    • find out what support they will offer to their clients to transition to STP
    • subscribe to their communications – this may be via email, newsletter or web updates.

    Stay informed

    Keep up to date with our news and events by following us on FacebookExternal Link, TwitterExternal Link and LinkedInExternal Link. Keep receiving the right information by ensuring:

    • we have the right contact details for your business or organisation
    • making sure you have the right authorisations in place.

    Review your business processes

    Check that your payroll staff know about STP. You should ensure that you are:

    • paying your employees correctly
    • calculating your employees’ super entitlements correctly
    • addressing overpayments correctly
    • maintaining accurate information including names, addresses, and date of birth records.

    Apply for more time if you need it

    If your software will be ready, but you won’t, you will need to apply to us for a deferred start date using our online form.

    If your payroll software provider will not be ready, they will provide you with a deferral reference number from us and a new date to start reporting using STP.

    Make sure you follow our guidelines and provide all the evidence required. We only provide deferrals for extenuating circumstances.

    See our employer guidelines

    We've developed detailed guidelines to help you understand all the requirements of STP.

    Update your software when it is ready, and start reporting to us

    We will help and support you through your first year of reporting. Remember, if you make a mistake, you will be able to make corrections. The first year is a transition and penalties will generally not apply.

    You can also download the checklist in a portable document format – Single Touch Payroll get ready checklist (PDF 194KB)This link will download a file.

    See also:

    Last modified: 30 May 2018QC 54703