Single Touch Payroll (STP) starts from 1 July 2018 for employers with 20 or more employees and will be expanded to include employers with 19 or less employees from 1 July 2019. STP will require employers to report salary and wages, allowances, deductions, tax and superannuation to the ATO each time you pay employees in line with your current pay cycle.
Employers will require STP ready software and those with STP compliant software can choose to report before 1 July 2019. Most employers will find that commonly available commercial software solutions will be compliant however we recommend that you check with your provider to ensure your software is ready by the relevant start date.
The information gathered by the ATO under STP will be used for many purposes. The ATO intends that employers will not need to provide payment summaries to employees for the payments you report through STP. Employees will be able to view their payment information in ATO online services such as MyGov. From July 2019 the ATO will also pre-fill activity statement labels W1 and W2 with the information. Employers and employees alike should be mindful that data-matching is also a powerful tool the ATO will undoubtedly rely upon to initiate audits once STP is mandatory.
The ATO's Small Business Superannuation Clearing House (SBSCH) is a free service where certain employers have been able to make super guarantee contributions on behalf of employees. The SBSCH then distributes the payments to each employee's super fund. Important to note is that from 26 February 2018 the SBSCH can only be accessed via the ATO's online services.
You can no longer report employee superannuation contributions via the old SBSCH reporting website. The SBSCH is now a new function of the Business Portal, which is the main tool for businesses with an Australian Business Number (ABN) to interact with the ATO online. Employers should also be mindful that the electronic payment details have also changed, however payments can now also be made by credit card. The good news is that all employee details and superannuation funds have transferred across to the new service.
For employers who do not currently have access to the Business Portal, the portal can only be accessed using a secure authentication credential, known as an AUSkey, that identifies you to act on behalf of your business. Obtaining an AUSkey is free and is easy to do via the Australian Business Register (ABR). Eligible associates of an Australian business on the ABR can apply online to obtain an AUSkey for the business you want to register.
For more information on Single Touch Payroll, The Small Business Superannuation Clearing House or advice on a payroll software solution that is right for your business, please contact us on (08) 8333 3666 or firstname.lastname@example.org