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  • Time for small employers to get ready for Single Touch Payroll

    Employers with 19 or fewer employees are now required to start reporting through Single Touch Payroll (STP) from 1 July 2019.

    STP requires employers to report their employees’ salaries and wages, pay as you go withholding and super information to the ATO from their payroll solution each time they pay their employees.

    Since STP reporting became mandatory for employers with 20 or more employees on 1 July 2018, over 60,000 Australian employers, representing around 4.3 million Australian employees, have been successfully reporting through STP.

    ATO Assistant Commissioner John Shepherd said the ATO will be working with employers to support them as they transition to STP.

    'Single Touch Payroll is an important change that will deliver benefits for both employers and employees by streamlining payroll processes and providing greater transparency around super entitlements,' Mr Shepherd said.

    “Employers with a payroll solution already in place may be able to start reporting now by updating their software to one that is STP-ready. We encourage employers to talk to their software provider about when their product will be available.

    “We understand the deadline of 1 July could be difficult for some small employers and we want to reassure them that the ATO is committed to providing employers with enough time to properly consider their options.

    “As such, small employers can start reporting any time from 1 July – 30 September. If they start during this period they will be reporting on time. The ATO is providing small employers with this three-month transitional period to work out the best solution for their business. We encourage them to talk to their accountant or tax adviser and ensure they are aware of all their options.

    “We will also be generous in granting deferrals to small employers who need more time to start STP reporting, and a number of low-cost options (less than $10 per month) will also become available in the 2018–19 financial year. These options may include simple payroll solutions, portals and online apps.”

    As the ATO did for employers with 20 or more employees, the first year of reporting will be a transition year and the ATO will work with small employers to ensure they have the information and help they need to transition smoothly.

    “The ATO is focused on educating and supporting tax professionals and employers to make the transition easier, Mr Shepherd said.

    For the latest information, join the ATO’s live webcast How to transition to Single Touch Payroll for small employers on 5 March 2019 at 11.00am. You can add it to your calendar through the ATO’s webcast pageExternal Link.

    The next steps to get ready for STP:

    • Visit ato.gov.au/STP for information.
    • If you have payroll software, speak to your provider to find out if your product is ready or when it will be.
    • If you don’t have software, choose a product that offers STP. You can ask your registered tax or BAS agent for advice on choosing a product that suits your business needs.
    • Update your payroll software when it’s ready.
    • Start reporting to the ATO through STP.

    Visit ato.gov.au/STP for information, resources, news and detailed guidelines.

      Last modified: 07 Mar 2019QC 58173