Advice from business leaders and industry experts
Australian Taxation Office | 16 October 2019
Single Touch Payroll (STP) is the new way to report your employee’s tax and super information to the ATO. The ATO is pleased to announce that over 485,000 employers are already reporting through STP each time they pay their employees.
It doesn’t matter if your business employs one person or fifty – all businesses need to be reporting through STP or have engaged with the ATO about how they are going to start reporting. STP means that every time you pay your employees you also report this information to the ATO, including the amount of salary and wages you paid them, amounts withheld and the amount of superannuation they are owed.
Super funds are also reporting to the ATO and will let us know when you make payments into your employees’ chosen or default super fund. This is an important step toward making sure employees are paid their correct entitlements.
STP levels the playing field by providing clearer and earlier visibility to identify employers who are either deliberately not complying or those who need more support, allowing the ATO to intervene much earlier. It also allows employees to see their entitlements accumulating in near real time giving them more visibility of their tax and super information.
Matthew Addison, Executive Director at the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers says, “with the right preparation work the transition into STP can be easy and the ongoing reporting of payroll in an STP environment becomes part of what you were already doing.”
If you haven’t started reporting, it’s not too late to make the move. To help you start reporting through STP, there are three pathways to suit your situation:
If you are still unsure what action to take, take the ATO online assessment tool and find out which pathway will help you start reporting through STP.
Over the past six months the ATO has seen thousands of businesses start reporting and has noticed there are a few common setup considerations you might need to take into account.
Before you send your first STP report to the ATO, it is important you link your software service identifier (SSID) to the ATO. This ensures that the data being received is from a trusted source and linked to your business.
The SSID is usually displayed in your software during the set up process – it’s similar to a serial number. If you are unsure whether your solution requires you to provide the ATO with an SSID, you can ask your software provider.
Registering your product’s SSID with the ATO is easy. You only need to complete a one-off notification through Access Manager or call the ATO on 1300 852 232.
If you don’t link your software to the ATO, the ATO will be unable to receive your STP reports.
If you make a mistake you can easily fix it by using an update event or making a correction in your next pay run. If you are unsure about how to rectify an error or need assistance, the ATO’s website (ato.gov.au/STP) has guides and information to help you get back on track. If you are still having difficulties you can contact your software provider, registered agent or the ATO.
Jenifer Bourke is a BAS agent and a Partner at D&J Bourke which services clients across regional Victoria. Ms Bourke said, “many of our clients depend on our services for their bookkeeping and BAS servicing as they are small businesses sometimes employing no more than one employee.
“We use multiple STP-enabled systems on behalf of our clients. We have found the upgrade and software solutions to be easy to use and have now got all our applicable clients either onto STP or have applied for the deferral to give them more time to get ready.”
The process to transition is different for everyone but Debbie Demooy, founder of Rad Bookkeeping and Business Services in Somerville Victoria, says that she, “found the transition to STP fairly easy, and after the initial setup it’s very little hassle to enter information and send it to the ATO at the end of the pay run.
“Our software provider has also been very helpful with the upgrade and has helped us make sure everything is working and easy to use. There were a couple of hiccups with the program, but this is getting fixed and improving as we go along.
“The thing I like the most about STP so far is that it helps me ensure that the information I’m submitting to the ATO is timely and correct, and I like knowing that my employees can access their payroll and superannuation information via myGov whenever they need it.”
If you’re a business and you’re not reporting, please follow one of the three pathways and get in touch with the ATO early. This ensures we can provide assistance and support your transition to STP reporting.