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  • Single Touch Payroll

    What Single Touch Payroll (STP) is

    STP is a new way of reporting tax and super information to the ATO.

    Using software that is STP-enabled, you’ll send your employees’ salary and wage, tax withheld and super information to us each time you pay your employees.

    This means:

    • you will be reporting to us each time you pay your employees
    • you will be reporting super information to us
    • you won’t need to give your employees a payment summary for the information you have already reported and finalised through STP.

    When to start

    Start reporting any time before 30 September 2019.

    If you are unable to start reporting by this date, you can apply for more time. Once you start STP reporting, you need to keep reporting each time you pay your employees.

    Start reporting through STP

    Start reporting in one of the following ways by:

    • using your current payroll or accounting software (if it is STP enabled)
    • choosing payroll or accounting software that offers STP reporting
    • asking your registered tax or BAS agent to report through an STP solution on your behalf.

    Your solution provider or tax professional may give you advice on how to transition to STP reporting.

    STP reporting options

    Employers with 1–4 employees (micro employers)

    If you have 1–4 employees, you can report using a no-cost or low-cost STP solution. A list of providers is available on our website ato.gov.au/STPsolutions

    If you have limited digital capability you may be eligible to report quarterly (every three months) until June 2021 through your registered tax or BAS agent.

    Your registered tax or BAS agent will need to apply for this type of reporting on your behalf.

    Employers with 5–19 employees (small employers)

    Start reporting now – If you use payroll software which offers STP, you can update your product and start reporting any time. Talk to your software provider, or visit their website, to find out what you need to do. See our checklist for some important steps you need to take to connect your software to the ATO.

    Start reporting any time before 30 September 2019 – If you are not ready right now, your solution provider or tax professional may give you advice on how to transition to STP reporting. You can also view/download our Start reporting checklist.

    Apply for more time to get ready – If you won't be ready to start reporting by 30 September 2019, use our online form to apply for a later start date. See Single Touch Payroll deferrals.

    Ask us for an exemption if you meet the criteria – If you live in an area with intermittent or no internet connection, you or your agent can apply online for an exemption.

    How to report

    If you already use a payroll solution or service you can report through it as long as it’s been updated to offer STP reporting. Talk to your provider to find out if they offer STP.

    If you don’t currently have a payroll solution and want to look at options, talk to a tax professional or service provider for advice.

    There are also products available today which have been specifically designed for STP reporting and do not require use of full payroll reporting requirements.

    You can find more information about the range of products available at the STP product register. If you have four employees or less, you can find a selection of easy to use, low-cost and no-cost solutions at ato.gov.au/stpsolutions – these solutions are all $10 or less.

    You can also ask a payroll service provider or your registered tax or BAS agent to report through an STP solution on your behalf each payday.

    Payments made to people directly related to the business (closely-held employees)

    If you make payments to a person that is directly related to the business, such as a family member, director, shareholder or a beneficiary of a trust, you aren’t required to report payments to these types of employees through STP until 1 July 2020. You do not have to apply for this extra time.

    You still need to report their salary and wage, tax withheld and super information using your existing processes.

    Quarterly reporting until 2021

    If you have between one and four employees and you have non-computerised payroll (for example, running your payroll manually and keeping records on a spreadsheet or paper), then you may be eligible to report quarterly until June 2021 through your registered tax or BAS agent. Talk to them to see how they can support you.

    Alternatively, if your business has irregular employment patterns, such as large seasonal increases, you may also be eligible for a quarterly reporting concession and do the reporting on your own behalf.

    You can make an application for a quarterly reporting concession by lodging with us before 30 September 2019. You or your tax professional can find more information at Single Touch Payroll deferrals.

    If you need more time

    You can make an application to delay your start date for STP (a deferral) but this must be lodged with us before 30 September 2019. You or your tax professional can find more information at Single Touch Payroll deferrals.

    You need to provide a reason for the deferral and a specific date no later than 30 June 2020. We will confirm an acceptance of the new date with you. You still need to find a solution and start reporting by that date. Further deferrals will not be granted unless there are exceptional circumstances.

    Available exemptions

    Employers with closely held payees only (such as a director or family members of a family owned business) or non-business employers (such as carers holding a Withholding Payer Number WPN) do not need to start reporting for these payees until 1 July 2020. This exemption is automatic and you do not need to apply. However you may start STP reporting before then.

    Other exemptions in special circumstances may also be available on a case-by-case basis such as no internet connection or a business in administration. Check with your registered tax professional if you think you may qualify.

    Any exemptions are for an agreed period of time and will be reviewed at the expiry of each exemption.

    Support and more information

    There is support available for employers transitioning to STP reporting (including those who are not currently using software) by:

    • talking to your registered tax professional
    • phoning our translating and interpreting service for people from non-English speaking backgrounds on 13 14 50.
      Last modified: 06 Aug 2019QC 59836