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  • STP reporting options

    The reporting systems and concessions available for Single Touch Payroll (STP) depend on how many employees you have.

    On this page:

    Counting your employees

    To do a headcount to work out how many employees you have, each of the following count as one employee:

    • full-time employees
    • part-time employees
    • casual employees
    • employees based overseas
    • any employee absent or on leave (paid or unpaid).

    Don't include the following in your headcount:

    • employees who have ceased working for you
    • independent contractors
    • staff provided by a third-party labour hire organisation
    • office holders
    • religious practitioners
    • closely held payees such family members of a family business, directors or shareholders of a company and beneficiaries of a trust.

    If you have a mixture of employees and closely held payees (who are excluded from your headcount), you are still considered a micro employer if you have one to four employees.

    Example:

    You have:

    • three full-time employees
    • one part-time employee
    • two directors.

    You are considered to have four employees and are considered a micro employer.

    End of example

    Employers with 19 or fewer employees

    STP started from 1 July 2019 for employers with 19 or fewer employees (small employers). You should be reporting through STP now.

    If you haven't started STP reporting and don't have a deferral, you need to take the following steps:

    1. Start reporting now – if you use payroll software that is STP-enabled, you can start reporting now. To find out what you need to do, talk to your software provider or visit their website. See our STP checklists for important steps you need to take to connect your software to the ATO.
    2. Choose an STP-enabled software solution – if you don't use payroll software, or if your software isn't STP-enabled, you can browse the STP product register to choose the right software solution for you.
    3. Ask a third party to report for you, such as a registered tax or BAS agent or a payroll service provider.
    4. Consider if one of the concessional reporting options is right for you.
    5. If you have exceptional circumstances impacting on your ability to start reporting, apply for a deferral. Or if you meet the criteria, you can apply for an exemption.

    See also:

    Employers with one to four employees

    If you have one to four employees (micro employer) and you don't currently use payroll software, there are other ways to report STP information.

    Many digital service providers offer no-cost and low-cost STP solutions for micro employers, including simple payroll software, mobile phone apps and portals.

    Quarterly reporting concession

    A quarterly STP reporting concession is temporarily available until 30 June 2021, if you use a registered tax or BAS agent and meet the eligibility criteria. Applications for this concession will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

    Check if you are eligible and talk your tax or BAS agent to see if this is a service they provide.

    See also:

    Small employers with closely held payees

    There are concessional reporting options for small employers with closely held payees.

    A closely held payee means the payee is directly related to the entity from which they receive payments. For example:

    • family members of a family-owned business
    • directors or shareholders of a company
    • trustees or beneficiaries of a trust.

    Employers may not always pay closely held payees a regular salary or wage. Instead, they may draw on income from the business throughout the year. As STP information is reported each time payroll is run, it may not be practical for employers to report payments made to closely held payees as regularly.

    See also:

    Employers with 20 or more employees

    STP started from 1 July 2018 for employers with 20 or more employees (substantial employers).

    You should be reporting through STP now.

    If you have not yet started reporting through STP, our checklists will help you get ready. You can find out if your software is STP-enabled by talking to your software provider. Your tax or BAS agent can also help.

    Penalties

    The 12-month transition period for substantial employers to start STP reporting ended on 30 June 2019.

    If you haven't started reporting via STP and you don’t have a deferral, we may contact you. If you don't start reporting within a reasonable amount of time, we may apply penalties.

    Find out about:

    See also:

    Last modified: 22 Oct 2020QC 54702