To do a headcount to work out how many employees you have, each of the following count as one employee:
- full-time employees
- part-time employees
- casual employees
- employees based overseas
- any employee absent or on leave (paid or unpaid).
Don't include the following in your headcount:
- employees who have ceased working for you
- independent contractors
- staff provided by a third-party labour hire organisation
- office holders
- religious practitioners
- closely held payees such family members of a family business, directors or shareholders of a company and beneficiaries of a trust.
If you have a mixture of employees and closely held payees (who are excluded from your headcount), you are still considered a micro employer if you have 1-4 employees.
- three full-time employees
- one part-time employee
- two directors.
You are considered to have 4 employees and are considered a micro employer.End of example
STP started from 1 July 2019 for employers with 19 or fewer employees (small employers). You should be reporting through STP now.
If you haven't started STP reporting and don't have a deferral, you need to take the following steps:
- Start reporting now – if you use payroll software that is STP-enabled, you can start reporting now. To find out what you need to do, talk to your software provider or visit their website. See our STP checklists for important steps you need to take to connect your software to the ATO.
- Choose an STP-enabled software solution – if you don't use payroll software, or if your software isn't STP-enabled, you can browse the STP product register to choose the right software solution for you.
- Ask a third party to report for you, such as a registered tax or BAS agent or a payroll service provider.
- Consider if one of the concessional reporting options is right for you.
- If you have exceptional circumstances impacting on your ability to start reporting, apply for a deferral. Or if you meet the criteria, you can apply for an exemption.
If you have 1-4 employees (micro employer) and you don't currently use payroll software, you have a couple of options available to you. You can browse the STP product registerExternal Link to choose the right software solution for you or you can access the Quarterly reporting concession for micro employers.
Quarterly reporting concession
Your registered tax or BAS agent can report quarterly on your behalf if you meet the eligibility criteria. Applications for this concession will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.
Check if you are eligible and talk your tax or BAS agent to see if this is a service they provide.
A closely held payee means the payee is directly related to the entity from which they receive payments. For example:
- family members of a family-owned business
- directors or shareholders of a company
- trustees or beneficiaries of a trust.
From 1 July 2021, amounts paid to all payees (including closely held payees) need to be reported through STP.
Employers may not always pay closely held payees a regular salary or wage. Instead, they may draw on income from the business throughout the year. As STP information is reported each time payroll is run, it may not be practical for employers to report payments made to closely held payees as regularly.
There are concessional reporting options for small employers with closely held payees. Small employers can choose to report amounts paid to closely held payees through STP in any of the following ways:
- report actual payments on or before the date of payment
- report actual payments quarterly
- report a reasonable estimate quarterly.
STP started from 1 July 2018 for employers with 20 or more employees (substantial employers).
You should be reporting through STP now.
If you have not yet started reporting through STP, our checklists will help you get ready. You can find out if your software is STP-enabled by talking to your software provider. Your tax or BAS agent can also help.
The transition period for employers to start STP reporting has now ended.
If you haven't started reporting via STP and you don’t have a deferral, we may contact you. If you don't start reporting within a reasonable amount of time, we may apply penalties.