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  • Single Touch Payroll Employer Transition Working Group key messages 24 June 2021


    The Chair provided an acknowledgement of country and welcomed everyone to the meeting.

    Member updates

    The chair posed a focus question to members around the single touch payroll (STP) Phase 2 awareness correspondence that was issued in June to employers announcing STP Phase 2.

    Comments and feedback included:

    • Some members had not seen the email and rely heavily on their digital service providers (DSPs) to provide with them with updates.
    • Some organisations have been communicating STP messages to their members. Members are awaiting information from DSPs on how STP Phase 2 will be implemented.
    • The ATO clarified the correspondence was sent to the employers ‘preferred contact’, so some of the correspondence would have issued to a tax agent representative and not to the employer directly.
    • Larger DSP’s generally have greater capacity to engage more regularly with their clients, whereas the smaller DSP do not have the same marketing capacity therefore would have less going out about STP Phase 2.
    • Intermediaries are waiting for more content, like the employer guide, to use as a tool to raise awareness and educate themselves and their clients.

    Digital service provider transition update

    The ATO presented a summary of the process for DSPs to be whitelisted including an overview of DSP transition to date.

    The group were informed it was too early to have a real picture of when DSPs will be going to market, but the deferral process would shed some light on DSP plans.

    Members made the following suggestions:

    • Having two mailouts to cater for both the large and smaller employer segments.
    • Dropping the ‘Mandatory 1 Jan 2022’ deadline from communications. This date is somewhat irrelevant if there are few DSPs ready. Lots of employer’s cannot transition by the 1 January date even if they wanted to.
    • Having factsheets or information that is industry based would be helpful and to provide award-based examples on implementation of STP Phase 2.

    Deferrals framework

    The ATO presented a summary of the DSP and employer deferral frameworks.

    Members' feedback highlighted:

    • Employers will need their agents support to transition and when a practice has over 200 clients, it will take time to transition them all.
    • There is a need for the agent bulk deferral tool, so employers do not have to submit 200 individual deferrals for their clients.

    The ATO confirmed:

    • Review of a bulk deferral option will be conducted once more is known about DSPs transition plans. For STP Phase 1, the ATO had approximately 5000 agents who used the bulk deferral option.
    • There is no firm end date for deferrals at this stage and it must be managed on a case by case considering DSP deferrals and an employer’s circumstances.
    • When an employer applies for a deferral, the DSPs will receive a ‘Deferral Reference Number’ letter that they can share with their clients.

    Employer guide

    The ATO provided an overview of the Phase 2 employer guide.

    The group discussed early feedback at a high level and the ATO will take away suggestions and look to incorporate these.

    The ATO will publish the guide in late June 2021, as some employers will be preparing to transition sooner than others. Some Phase 2 solutions will be ready this calendar year and a number will be ready by 1 January 2022.

    The ATO will use the guide as the base and then adapt and expand where needed. We will also work with the Employer Transition Group around messaging and call to action for transition messaging for employers.

      Last modified: 16 Mar 2022QC 68156