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  • Preparing for Single Touch Payroll

    There are a number of steps you will need to take to get ready to report through Single Touch Payroll (STP).

    You may need to do a headcount

    Do a headcount if you need to confirm you have 20 or more employees by counting who was on your payroll on 1 April 2018. This is a headcount, not a count of your full time equivalent (FTE).

    If your headcount totals 20 or more employees, you will need to report through STP in 2018–19.

    You don't need to send us the headcount information – however, you should keep a copy of the calculation for your own records.

    Some employees do not need to be included in the headcount, including casuals who did not work in March, and some seasonal workers. For more information on conducting the headcount visit Get ready for Single Touch Payroll.

    Determine how you will report through STP

    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. Check the ABSIA product catalogueExternal Link for details about STP-enabled software.
    • 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.

    Talk to your software provider

    Make sure you understand how your digital service provider will offer STP, when your software will be ready and what you need to do to transition.

    Some digital service providers have applied to us for a deferred start date for some or all of their products.

    Your digital service provider will let you know if a deferral has been granted for your software product. They will give you a deferral reference number (DRN) from the ATO. You are not required to notify the ATO when you receive your DRN from your provider. However, keep a copy for your records.

    If your software is covered by a deferral you will need to start reporting through STP on or before the date granted by the ATO.

    Apply for your own deferral if you need more time

    If you won't be ready to start reporting through STP by 1 July 2018, or by your software provider's deferred start date, you will need to apply for your own deferral.

    If you need to apply for your own deferral you will need to use our online employer deferral request form.

    You will need to provide evidence demonstrating why you need more time, 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 your master data – 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 your report will be sent to the 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 use an AUSkey to send the file.

    Last modified: 04 Jun 2018QC 54550