The ATO expects there to be a range of low-cost Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting software available for small businesses from early 2019.
Single Touch Payroll reporting is only required currently for larger employers (20 or more employees). The Government wants to extend it to small employers (19 or fewer employees), though the legislation to do this has yet to pass the Parliament.
One concern about smaller employers having to use Single Touch Payroll is the cost of software. In response, the ATO has been seeking solutions that cost less than $10 a month, take only minutes per pay period and don’t require the employer to maintain the software.
The ATO has received proposals from 31 companies for such Single Touch Payroll reporting solutions, which may include mobile apps or portals.
The ATO expects there to be a “range” of options available for smaller employers in early 2019, ahead of their potential 1 July 2019 Single Touch Payroll start date.
“We won’t force employers with 19 or less employees to purchase payroll software if they don’t currently use it,” says the ATO.
“Micro employers (1–4 employees) will also have a number of alternate options that are not available to employers with 20 or more employees – such as initially allowing your registered tax or BAS agent to report quarterly, rather than each time you run your payroll. ”
“Exemptions to STP reporting will also be available if you have no internet or an unreliable connection.”
Single Touch Payroll legislation still before Parliament
The Bill which would extend Single Touch Payroll requirements to smaller employers almost passed the Parliament last year. Though it passed the Senate, this was after the Government moved amendments and so the Bill has to return to the House of Representatives. Parliament is next scheduled to sit on 12 February.
ATO to contact small employers about STP
The ATO says it will be writing to employers with 19 or fewer employees and who use payroll software to tell them about Single Touch Payroll.
The letters will remind employers that they “don’t need to wait for legislation to pass to start reporting through STP”.
The ATO will also be hosting a series of webinars for employers on Single Touch Payroll.