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  • Single Touch Payroll authorisations

    We have streamlined the process for clients to authorise their registered agent to act on their behalf for Single Touch Payroll (STP) lodgment.

    The STP pay event is an approved form submitted to the Commissioner of Taxation, and requires the following each time it is lodged:

    • a declaration that the information contained in the approved form (the STP pay event or update event) is ‘true and correct’
    • the declarer is authorised to lodge the approved form.

    The STP engagement authority allows eligible employers to provide this once a year instead of at each pay event.

    On this page:

    STP engagement authority

    If a registered agent reports through STP for an employer, they can obtain written authorisation to make this declaration through an annual agreement.

    This written agreement is called an STP engagement authority and will evidence a registered agent’s authorisation to prepare STP pay events on behalf of an employer. It will allow the registered agent to make the relevant declaration to the Commissioner at the time of lodging each STP pay event.

    The STP engagement authority is subject to eligibility criteria and must only be used for lodging an STP pay event – not other approved forms.

    An authority must be reviewed and signed by an employer and their registered agent every 12 months or any time there has been a significant change in the industrial relations, taxation or payroll process.

    Eligibility for the authority

    To be eligible to provide a registered agent with STP engagement authority the employer must not:

    • have any overdue activity statement lodgments
    • have any outstanding debts, unless they are covered by a payment arrangement or subject to review
    • currently be or have been the subject of ATO compliance activity for PAYG withholding in the last two years.

    Directors of companies must not have been issued with a Director Penalty Notice (DPN) in relation to the company or any other company where they are or have been a director.

    What to include in the authority

    The STP engagement authority should outline the responsibilities of both parties. It should include the agreed terms of the employer’s collation of payroll related inputs and their process for calculating and paying their employees, as well as their taxation and superannuation obligations.

    This approach may be applied where a registered agent is preparing and lodging STP reports on behalf of the employer.

    The agreement will need to be reviewed and signed annually or when there is a significant change. At a minimum, it is expected the declaration will include the following:

    • The STP engagement authority may only apply for a period of no longer than 12 months. This is to ensure the employer and the registered agent have reviewed and agreed on the terms of the arrangement in line with industrial, taxation and business changes impacting the payroll.

    Both the employer and registered agent should co-sign the agreement, and keep a copy for their records. You do not need to provide a copy to the ATO.

    Exclusions

    The STP engagement authority does not apply to other approved forms or the finalisation declaration.

    A registered agent must still obtain a signed declaration in writing from an employer before making the finalisation declaration on behalf of the employer at the end of the financial year.

    See also:

    Last modified: 14 Sep 2018QC 56773