This Affects You! Single Touch Payroll

By Rana Jewell, Public Accountant and Registered Tax Agent

A payroll revolution has already started for employers with 19+ employees – this means that if you work for one of these larger organisations who is reporting your pay and super information by real-time single touch payroll (STP) software, your employer no longer has an obligation to issue you with an annual Payment Summary (aka group certificate). You will be able to see your year-to-date reported wage, tax and super information in your myGov account.  After financial year-end this information will be in pre-fill reports that your tax agent can access or in your myTax record.  

But if you don’t use a tax agent or want to avoid setting up a MyGov account you can request a copy of your payment summary (or income statement) by phoning the tax office on 13 28 61 (or 13 28 66), option 3, option 2 – they will ask your full name, date of birth, and tax file number plus three random security questions, unless you already have voice identification setup.

For employers with 19 or less employees, this major change commences on 1 July 2019 and they need to start STP reporting by 30 September 2019 latest, unless they’ve applied and been granted a later start date.  Exemptions are available for employers experiencing hardship or with intermittent or no internet connection.

Despite vigorous lobbying to numerous politicians by us and other Tax professionals there are no exclusions for micro businesses (1-4 employees) unless you can demonstrate extenuating circumstances. Except if you already use cloud-based STP compliant payroll software, there will be extra costs:  new software (ato.gov.au/STPsolutions), extra training, additional Tax or BAS agent fees to do the training and/or reporting on your behalf.  

If your company or trust only has yourself and other family members (ie closely-held payees) as employees, your deferred STP reporting start date is 1 July 2020 and you can apply to do STP reporting at the same time as your quarterly activity statement – these can be estimates which are then finalised by the due date of the entity’s income tax return.  

All other employees must be reported through STP by 30 September 2019 unless you have a granted deferred start date.  If you have 1-4 employees and have limited digital capability, you may be eligible to report quarterly until June 2021 through your registered tax or BAS agent. 

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