While the name may suggest some weird form of physical payroll, single-touch payroll (STP) is a new initiative from the ATO which came into effect at the start of this financial year. STP is currently applicable for employers with 20 or more employees. However, STP will also be used for employers with fewer than 20 employees from the start of next financial year.
What is single-touch payroll?
STP enables employers to report salary or wages, PAYG withholding and super information directly to the ATO at the same time they pay their employees. STP will send a copy of these to the ATO automatically when these are sent to the employee. The system is designed to make reporting easier for employers, as well as addressing the unpaid superannuation crisis.
How do I report through STP?
Reporting is easy as the process of STP is automatic, once your reporting software is STP-enabled. Before lodging your first report, make sure you authorise people to lodge reports on behalf of your business. As well as checking if you are in need of an AUSkey, this identifies you as the representative for your business when using online government services.
There are some payments which cannot be reported through STP, these include:
- payments that are generally not paid through a payroll process;
- payments made by payers to recipients that are generally not their employees
Are there any issues that could arise from STP?
As long as you are up-to-date on your super payments there is no need to worry. However, for smaller businesses that don’t pay super on time due to limited cash flow, consider breaking down these payments to be more regular to meet your obligations under STP. If you’ve missed superannuation payments in the past, there is an amnesty period until May 2019 to rectify any past non-compliance without penalty. Grievances can be backdated as far as 1992, so make sure you are on top of your superannuation!
Are there any benefits for employees?
Peace of mind. Through establishing the STP system, the ATO will get a report every time an employee is paid and will be able to instantly verify the superannuation payments are up to date. Employees will also be able to complete Super Choice forms and TFN declaration forms through their myGov account.