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  • Single Touch Payroll Phase 2 Advisory Group key messages 8 November 2021

    Industry update

    Members provided the following insights and feedback:

    • Single touch payroll (STP) Phase 2 is currently not the main topic for employers as industry grapple with Stapled Funds and director ID projects. ATO will continue to consult on upcoming communications to ensure we continue to support industry where possible and pre-empt questions from employers.
    • ATO webinars are being well received. Attendees have been from a diverse group of stakeholders.
    • Members discussed the level of communication being received directly from digital service providers (DSPs) citing that industry and employer groups would benefit from more direct messaging from DSPs.
    • The group discussed deferrals the channels used to share information about DSP deferral dates. Unless customers are subscribed to these channels, they would not be able to keep up to date on information.

    DSP readiness and transition

    ATO tabled a paper on DSP readiness and transition noting:

    • The external conformance testing (ECT) strategy is working well and has received positive feedback from DSPs on ATO’s response and early resolution of issues.
    • All DSPs currently in testing are expected to complete ECT prior to the Christmas shutdown.
    • Two DSPs have moved through ECT in record time of two weeks. Large DSPs can take up to 6–8 weeks per product. Common issues remain around disaggregation. The ECT support team is working closely with DSPs to assist with different scenarios and processes.
    • DSPs were reminded that for deferral requests to be in place by 1 January 2022, they should be received by 31 October 2021. ATO responses to DSP deferral requests are issued through online services for DSPs and includes a confirmation letter and letter for their clients.
    • There is a small group of DSPs that have not notified the ATO of an anticipated start date or requested a deferral. ATO will continue to work with this population.
    • Industry asked about support for small businesses that may not have an established relationship with a tax or BAS agent. The chair welcomed any suggestions or ideas for engaging or supporting this group.

    Intermediary readiness

    ATO is now turning its mind to the tailored support for intermediaries/practitioners who may need to assist their clients to transition to STP Phase 2. A small focus group will be established prior to Christmas to work through this issue. Members recommended inclusion of a broad spectrum of industry and practitioner stakeholders in this group including approaching the Tax Practitioner Focus Group for members who may be interested in joining.

    Members were invited to send through nominations or expression of interests to join to the STP secretariat mailboxThis link opens in a new window by 19 November 2021.

    Employer engagement and communications

    ATO tabled a paper outlining the approach to employer engagement and communications noting:

    • ATO is seeing different level of engagement and messaging occurring within the community as compared with STP Phase 1 and felt it was a good sign that DSPs and practitioners were more confident discussing the changes.
    • ATO webinars, speaker notes, and presentation packs are being requested and used by industry to support these events and engagement activities.
    • ATO webinars are progressing well with average attendance of 2,000 attendees. All webinars are recorded and available to view at any time.
    • Over 500 questions from recent webinars have been received with a large number of Fair Work Commission issues being raised. ATO has established a fortnightly working group with Fair Work Commission to work through these issues.
    • The last STP Phase 2 topic-based webinar will be held on 18 November covering salary sacrifice, dedications, and child support. Stakeholders from child support will be in attendance to support discussions.
    • Members noted that January 2022 would be the preferred date to recommence with future webinars and would rely on recorded webinars for support over the holiday period.

    Consultative group update

    ATO tabled a consultative group update.

    Other business

    DSP guidance is expected to be published within the week and a new section to the employer guide will be released within the next two weeks.

    The Chair thanked all members for their contribution to the group, noting it is the last meeting of the year. Meetings are expected to recommence in early February 2022 and will continue at a frequency of every 6 weeks until 30 June 2022.

      Last modified: 18 Mar 2022QC 68170