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  • Get ready for Single Touch Payroll

    We've developed two checklists to help you prepare for Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting.

    On this page:

    • Get ready checklist – includes the initial steps, such as choosing how you will report through STP.
    • Start reporting checklist – will help you take the right steps before sending your first STP report, such as connecting your software to the ATO.

    You can also download and print out a PDF version of the Get ready checklist by clicking the button below:

    Single Touch Payroll Get ready checklist

    Get ready checklist

    1. Determine how you will report through STP

    The first step is to determine how you will report through STP. This may depend on the size of your business, and if you currently use payroll or accounting software.

    You can choose one of the following options:

    • report through a Single Touch Payroll-enabled solution -- see Find STP softwareExternal Link for the STP product register
      • if you currently use software, go to step 2
      • if you don't use software, and you choose this option, talk to your tax or BAS agent for advice on choosing the right product to suit your business needs
       
    • ask a third party, such as a registered tax or BAS agent, or a payroll service provider, to report through STP for you
    • for employers with four or less employees only: choose a no-cost or low-cost solution when one is available. See No-cost and low-cost solutions for STP. There are also reporting concessions options available to you, see concessional reporting.

    2. If you use payroll software, talk to your provider

    Find out how your payroll software provider will offer STP reporting – this may be through an update to your existing software, or an additional service. Older software products, such as those purchased off-the-shelf, may not be updated to offer STP reporting. Your provider will tell you which of their products offer STP.

    Also remember to:

    • find out what support they will give you to help your transition to STP
    • upgrade or install your software when ready
    • subscribe to their communications – this may be by email, newsletter or web updates.

    3. Talk to your staff about STP

    Check the right people in your business know about STP – especially the person or people responsible for running your payroll.

    This is also a good time to ensure you are:

    • paying your employees correctly
    • calculating your employees’ super entitlements correctly
    • addressing overpayments correctly
    • maintaining accurate information including names, addresses, and date of birth records.

    Cleaning up any anomalies in your payroll now will help you report successfully.

    4. Start reporting

    We will help and support you through your first year of reporting.

    • If you make a mistake, you will be able to make corrections. The first year is a transitional year and penalties will generally not apply.
    • See our Start reporting checklist before sending your first STP pay event report to the ATO. This will help you send your file to us successfully
    • For more detailed requirements of STP, including what you need to report, how to make corrections and finalising your STP data you can see our Single Touch Payroll employer reporting guidelines.

    5. Apply for more time if you need it

    Employers with 19 employees or less

    If you won't be ready to start reporting before 30 September 2019 you will need to apply for a deferral. See Single Touch Payroll deferrals

    If you have closely held payees you don't need to start reporting these payees until 1 July 2020. There is no action required from you, this is automatically granted. See our Single Touch Payroll for closely held payers factsheet.

    Employers with 20 or more employees

    You should be reporting through STP, or have a deferral in place. If not, apply for one using our online STP employer deferral request form (PDF 1.66MB, NAT 74985)This link will download a file.

    When requesting a deferral, make sure you follow the ATO guidelines and provide all the evidence, if required.

    6. If you need more support

    If you need more support you can:

    • speak to your registered tax or BAS agent
    • subscribe to any updates on ato.gov.au/stp.
    • follow the ATO on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

    Start reporting checklist

    Once your software is STP-ready, you should check you’ve taken the following steps before sending your first STP pay event report. This will help you send the file to the ATO successfully.

    1. Determine who will authorise your STP reports each pay cycle

    If you are the business owner or public officer you are already authorised to send reports.

    If someone in your business will authorise reports (such as the payroll manager) you will need to give them the authority to do so. You may need to record this authorisation in your payroll software. Instructions on how to do this should be part of your STP set-up with your software provider. You do not need to contact the ATO to set up this authorisation.

    If a third party (such as a payroll service provider, or a registered tax or BAS agent) will report on your behalf they need to be linked to you at the ATO as part of the initial set-up. Your agent will also need to be authorised for every pay event they lodge. Talk to your agent to discuss how they intend to set it up for you.

    2. Determine who will send your STP report

    You can choose to submit your own reports. However, if you appoint another entity in your economic group (for example, a head office) you will need to sign a Cross entity authorisation nomination form (XEA) appointing the entity to send your STP reports. Without this in place, your report will fail. You can do this through Access ManagerExternal Link. Once you log in, you can access the form under ’Who has access to my business’.

    If a registered agent (payroll service provider, tax agent or BAS agent) will be sending your STP reports they need to record their registered agent number (RAN) in STP pay event payload and link this relationship at a role level with the ATO.

    3. Ask your software provider how your software will connect to the ATO

    Your software can connect directly to the ATO using a device AUSkey (this is more common for larger employers).

    Alternatively, your software may connect to the ATO using a software service ID (SSID) which is usually displayed by your software during the STP set-up.

    You or your registered agent will need to provide the ATO with your SSID. To do this phone 1300 852 232, or complete a one-off notification through Access Manager (you need an AUSkey to use Access Manager).

    We will not be able to receive your STP report without the correct SSID.

    Another option is your software may connect to the ATO through a sending service provider (SSP). If this is how your software connects to the ATO, you do not need to contact the ATO to set up a connection. Your SSP will do this for you.

    4. Decide who you want us to contact if we have any questions about STP matters

    You, or your nominated person, needs be added as a contact for pay-as-you-go withholding. This contact is listed in the STP pay events and is usually someone who understands your payroll amounts and how it is calculated.

    5. Start STP reporting and check your data was sent correctly

    You should check your software for successful status indicating the report was sent to the ATO. This indicates the file has been received by the ATO. Ask your provider how they will be alerting you of any errors from the ATO and how or where in the software you can access and action those errors.

    Check for any errors identified in your submission and follow the steps for correcting employee information.

    You can check the ATO Business Portals for prior lodgments (please allow up to 72 hours processing time) and review our troubleshooting information first if your report hasn’t come through to the ATO.

    Speak to your payroll solution provider if you need further assistance.

    Last modified: 28 Jun 2019QC 54703