ATO extends help to brokers transitioning to digital reporting

The ATO strongly encourages all employers with 19 employees or less to start reporting through Single Touch Payroll (STP) starting 1 July 2019, while it reminds employers with 20 or more employees that they should have already began reporting their employees’ wages, pay-as-you-go withholding and superannuation information to the ATO each payday.  

Over 124,000 employers have already started using the STP, and more than half of them are small employers who voluntarily transitioned before 1 July.

STP is part of ATO’s plan to digitise and streamline tax and super reporting while “providing greater visibility” on an employee’s super.   

No penalties for mistakes or delays
Aware that moving to digital reporting could be a big change for some small employers, ATO has allowed reporting any time from 1 July to 30 September and will still consider it prompt reporting. The office will also provide help and support for employers who need more time beyond the deadline.    

“Single Touch Payroll is an important change that will deliver benefits for both employers and employees by streamlining payroll processes and providing greater visibility for the ATO in regard to unpaid super or late payments,” ATO assistant commissioner Jason Lucchese said in a statement.

“There will be no penalties for mistakes or late reports for the first year, and if you are experiencing hardship or operate in an area with limited internet capabilities, there will be exemptions available.”

Micro employers with one to four employees can avail of the low-cost and no-cost solutions. They can also have the option to have their registered tax or BAS agent to report their STP information quarterly instead during every payroll. The option is available until 30 June 2021.  

Spin Business Solutions founder Tim Hoopmann, who recently transitioned to STP, said other businesses should look at STP as an opportunity because “it makes life easier by automating as much of the payroll process as possible” and helps keep one on top of his or her cash flow.

Small employers can transition to STP by following these steps:

  1. Visit www.ato.gov.au/stp for information
  2. If you already have a payroll software, speak to the software provider to find out if the product is ready or when it will be.
  3. If you don’t have a software, go for a product that offers STP. Get the advice of a registered tax or BAS agent on choosing which product best suits your business needs.  
  4. Update the payroll software when ready.
  5. Start reporting to the ATO via STP.