Is your Business ready for Single Touch Payroll Reporting?

31 August 2017

The Australian Tax Office has recently launched Single Touch Payroll Reporting (STPR) requirements from 1 July 2018 will create significant changes for how businesses across the country report to and engage with regulators.

Real time information sharing

Businesses that employ 20 or more people (headcount, not full-time equivalent) will be required to align with the new regime, which will see the ATO collect payroll data in real time. Compliance checking can also be completed in real time, which will start changing the way the ATO engages with taxpayers when issues arise. It will now apply to employers with less than 20 employees from 1 July 2019.

The change could also affect the way payroll information is shared between other agencies, as it aligns with the ATO's current information sharing agreement. For example, the ATO could share real-time payroll data with an agency like Centrelink, instead of doing it a year after the fact.
Superannuation payments will also be affected by the new STPR system. For the first time, the ATO will be able to match an employee's superannuation fund payments to a payslip immediately, rather than waiting for an annual report from an employer with no guarantee the money actually makes it to individual super accounts.

When does it start?

While the mandatory start date is 1 July 2018, there is an option for businesses to join voluntarily now. It will now apply to employers with less than 20 employees from 1 July 2019. BDO strongly advocates this option, as it will give businesses a significant head-start in ensuring compliance. Being proactive also means that if the ATO does review your business in the future, your management team can rest assured the business will have a strong track record to draw upon from the previous year.

Even if you decide not to proceed with the voluntary lodgements from this year, just being aware and beginning to plan ahead ensures you can be prepared early and not be caught off guard.

BDO’s steps to begin your STPR transition

  1. Have detailed conversations with your accounting software provider/s to confirm whether the current payroll processing arrangements will support the changes
  2. Conduct a risk review of your current payroll procedures, including PAYG, superannuation, car allowances and the timeliness of payments
  3. Review and monitor your HR processes to ensure employees are being treated fairly and paid correctly.

BDO recommends you understand how this change applies to your organisation and begin planning your roll-over to this new reporting requirement. Need help? Register here for a complimentary STPR action plan consultation with a BDO expert.