Government delays Single Touch Payroll start date

Government delays Single Touch Payroll start dateThe Government says it is pushing back the start date for Single Touch Payroll.

The initiative was announced late in 2014 by the Minister for Small Business as a way to cut red tape for employers.

However, following a consultation process which raised a number of issues, the Government has decided to postpone the 1 July 2016 start date.

“Having listened carefully to the earlier feedback the Government acknowledges that a start date of July 2016 will not be achievable for many businesses,” said a statement by Bruce Billson, the Minister for Small Business.

“The Government will undertake further consultation with the business community as it looks to cut red tape for employers by simplifying tax and superannuation reporting obligations through Single Touch Payroll.”

Single Touch Payroll is meant to involve the automatic reporting of payroll information from employers’ accounting software to the ATO. However the scope of the program was ill-defined, and may have included paying PAYG withholding and Superannuation Guarantee amounts at the same time as salary and wages.

One industry group called the 1 July 2016 start date “overly optimistic,” while others said it would increase costs for small business, or should be opt-in only.

The Government says it now “recognises” the cash-flow implications real-time payments would have for businesses and so will be consulting further on this option.

“We want to make sure we get this right because we understand Single Touch Payroll will be a large change for all businesses, especially small business.”

“With this in mind we have asked the Treasury and the ATO to continue to consult with the business community and the software industry on the scope and timing for the Single Touch Payroll initiative and the feasibility of conducting targeted pilots from July 2016,” said Mr Billson.

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