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  • How to get ready – small employers

    There are a number of transition options for small employers:

    • Start reporting from 1 July 2019 – if you are ready and have an STP solution in place. Refer to the Start reporting checklist.
    • Apply for quarterly reporting – depending on your circumstance, some employers may be eligible for quarterly reporting. Refer to the Micro employers quarterly reporting factsheet.
    • Apply for more time – if you need more time to get ready you will need to apply to us for a deferral by 30 September 2019. You can do this via the business portal or through a registered agent. Refer to Single Touch Payroll deferrals.
    • Ask for an exemption if you meet the criteria – Refer to Single Touch Payroll exemptions.

    Determine how you will report

    You will need to determine how you will report through STP.

    • If you use payroll software, your digital service provider will let you know how they will offer STP reporting.
    • You can choose a payroll solution that offers STP reporting if you do not currently have one, or if your current payroll solution will not be STP-enabled.
    • You can ask a registered agent, such as a tax or BAS agent, to report through STP for you. If you use a payroll service provider they must be a registered agent to report to the ATO on your behalf. For more information, refer to the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) Information sheet: TPB(I) 31/2016 Payroll service providersExternal Link.

    You will need to provide evidence demonstrating why you need more time or unable to report, and how you will get ready by the date you request.

    Review your business processes and data

    Before you start reporting through STP, you should review your current payroll processes.

    Clean up any anomalies in particular, those errors which may be detected through current processes such as issuing payment summaries or a payment summary annual report at the end of the financial year. This includes checking your employee information is accurate, including names, addresses and dates of birth.

    Check if you are addressing overpayments, calculating super and paying employees correctly.

    Determine how to send your report to ATO

    The STP pay event file is an approved form. That means we require an authorised person to declare the information being submitted is true and correct. This declaration must be made by the person submitting the pay event file.

    You will need to declare the STP data you are reporting is true and correct each time you submit a pay event or an update event. There will be a declaration in your STP-enabled software to do this – either a check-box or similar option.

    You must have a standard process in place to verify your data is true and correct. This is a similar process to the assurance you may currently run to reconcile your bank file before you pay your employees.

    While you must ensure you report accurate data, you will be able to make corrections in your next STP report.

    Authorisations and declarations

    Make sure you have internal authorisations in place before you lodge your first STP report.

    Where this person is not the public officer, make sure the appropriate delegation is obtained. The person may need to be added as an authorised contact if they will be interacting with the ATO about STP matters.

    If you are using a registered tax or BAS agent to lodge your STP reports on your behalf, you must authorise that agent so they are linked to your account as an STP intermediary. You will also need to provide written authorisation to the agent lodging a pay event on your behalf before each submission.

    Lodgment methods

    Your digital service provider will let you know how your software will send your STP files to the ATO.

    They will let you know if you need to get an AUSkeyExternal Link.

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    Last modified: 24 Sep 2019QC 54550