Single Touch Payroll

Updated March 19th 2020

Single Touch Payroll (STP) is a reporting change for employers reporting wage information to the ATO. It commenced on 1 July 2018 for employers with 20 or more employees.

It is planned to be extended to include employers with 19 or less employees from 1 July 2019. However don’t panic.

At this stage the legislation has not yet been passed for 19 employees or less and the solution is still a work in progress.

There are lots of benefits for using payroll software, however, if you have 19 of less employees and do not currently use compliant software then the ATO does not recommend anybody buying compliant software until things are a bit clearer on what other options might be available.

The tax office has also confirmed that microbusinesses (1 to 4 employees) will not be required to purchase payroll software to be compliant with the proposed single touch payroll regime, with apps and internet banking alternatives being explored.

John Shepherd, Assistant Commissioner & STP Lead, on a recent webcast confirmed that microbusinesses will be provided with different options to be STP compliant.

“You won’t need to buy payroll software, that’s why we’re looking for those alternate solutions- some of which might be an app, something that’s fit for purpose to get the STP information in but is easy to use, doesn’t take much time and doesn’t cost that business money to do so ,” said Mr Shepherd.

“We’ve spoken to some different banks and the possibilities around as people pay staff through internet banking being able to submit the single touch pay run information at the same time and we expect that to be part of the list of options that come forward over the next 12 months,” said Mr Shepherd.

The ATO have begun seeking expressions of interest from digital services providers to develop Single Touch Payroll software for the micro employer market, looking at a low or no-cost solution, software that has a simple user experience and a solution that will enable STP reporting within no more than 5 minutes.

So the message from the ATO to employers who have less than 19 employees is DON’T PANIC about Single Touch Payroll.