SINGLE TOUCH PAYROLL (STP) ON TRACK FOR 2018
Although the ATO’s Single Touch Payroll initiative is still more than a year away, software providers, bookkeepers like us, accountants and HR professionals are all starting to prepare for the big switch – so should you. If you’re already a client of ours, we’ve got your back, and this is really just an FYI. For businesses with more than 20 employees who haven’t heard about the changes, this one is for you. Let’s get you across it.
WHAT IS SINGLE TOUCH PAYROLL?
Single Touch Payroll (STP) is exactly as the name suggests – a singular way of reporting salary and wages, pay as you go (PAYG) and superannuation obligations to the ATO at the same time employees are paid. The initiative will allow employers to report salary or wages, PAYG withholding, superannuation information – all in one hit (or single touch). See what they did there?
PROGRESS SO FAR
According to the ATO, they’ve been working with software developers and tax practitioners for some time, to design a system that suits most employer’s payroll needs. In theory, the new system should make reporting and extracting payroll and super information more streamlined for employers, employees and bookkeepers from July 2018.
It is possible to start reporting now through Single Touch Payroll if your payroll solution is Single Touch Payroll enabled, talk to us about whether this is an option for you.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
If you’re an employer with 20 or more employees as at 1 April 2018, you’ll need to report employee PAYG and superannuation information through the STP system. By this time, many of the big hitting accounting software products like MYOB, Quickbooks, and Xero will be set up to do this for you. It will occur as part of the normal payroll process.
At the end of each financial year, your employees and their accountants (or bookkeepers) will be able to access their individual reports (rather than you providing them with a payment summary) through MyGov. The same information will be used to pre-fill your employees’ tax return.
UPDATING YOUR PAYROLL SOFTWARE
To make the transition as easy as possible, you should update your software for Single Touch Payroll reporting by April 2018. If you don’t already have payroll software (STP enabled or otherwise) and meet the 20 employees or more criteria, we recommend researching your options now to avoid rushed decisions later.
KEEP YOUR BOOKKEEPER OR ACCOUNTANT IN CHECK
If you use a bookkeeper or accountant for payroll related activities, chances are pretty high they are all over the change and already up to speed on what they’ll need to do on your behalf and when. The ATO and other industry bodies have been very proactive in bringing us up to speed. It’s our job now to support you and other small business owners. If you don’t feel like you’re getting this guidance, reach out because there are resources and experts available to help.
SINGLE TOUCH UPDATES AND NEWS
We’ll be keeping you informed of any developments if and when they occur. For now, feel free to ask us any questions or raise specific concerns with the ATO.