Payroll reporting: a touchy subject

man pointing finger

man pointing finger

If you are an employer the way you report payments, such as salaries and wages, pay as you go (PAYG) withholding and superannuation is changing from next year. The ATO will need you to report these payments directly from your payroll solution in real-time, at the same time as you pay your employees.

This is known as single touch payroll (STP) and is in line with the Government’s “digitization agenda”, intended to simplify business reporting obligations. It comes into effect in 2018 or 2019, depending on the size of your business. Are you ready for this change and how will it affect you? We can help you to prepare for the move to STP.

Single touch payroll will be compulsory for employers (including those in a wholly-owned group) with more than 20 employees from 1 July 2018. If your business has less than 19 employees, you have a bit longer, but you will need to get on board by 1 July 2019, subject to legislation. If you are unsure about whether you are a “substantial employer”, the advice is to do a headcount of all of your employees who are on your payroll on 1 April 2018; a total headcount includes all full-time, part-time, casual employees, those based overseas, absent employees and seasonal employees, not just your full-time equivalent (FTEs).

In a straw poll conducted by Accountants Daily (between 5 September and 14 October), almost 90 per cent of accountants and advisers said that their clients were not ready for the shift to single touch payroll.

The change to STP means that employers won’t need to complete payment summaries at the end of the year as these will have been reported in real time throughout the year. If you have a payroll solution (software that you use to pay employees), you will need to make sure it is updated by your service provider. If you do not have a payroll solution, you can speak to us about how to find the best solution for your business. The first 12 months of STP will be a transition period, during which time you could be exempt from an administrative penalty for failing to report on time.

Contact us to discuss the changes to payroll and what you need to do for seamless transition.

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