Single Touch Payroll off to “positive start”, says ATO

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The ATO says Single Touch Payroll is “off to a positive start”, with “thousands” of employers using the new reporting tool in the first month.

ATO Assistant Commissioner John Shepherd said the move to real-time reporting will improve the fairness of the tax and super systems, both for employers and employees.

“The ATO will receive and match employer reported data each pay cycle. This will give employers a better picture of their tax position, which can help them manage their business and tax obligations,” he said.

“Employees will be able to check their year-to-date tax and super information by logging into myGov and accessing ATO online services.”

The ATO says that once event-based reporting for superannuation funds starts in 2019 they will have “greater visibility of unpaid super”, helping prevent employees not receiving their entitlements.

Single Touch Payroll has been rolled out to large employers (20+ employees) first – who started using the service on 1 July 2018.

The ATO expects around 60,000 out of the total 70,000 employers to be on-board and reporting each payday by December 2018.

Single Touch Payroll is planned to be expanded to small employers (19 or fewer employees) from 1 July 2019 – if legislation passes the Parliament.

‘Single Touch Payroll isn’t just about enforcing obligations and creating more data; it’s about making the most of the information an employer captures – and getting that information from them when they’re running their payroll,” said Mr Shepherd.

He said the ATO had worked hard to design a system that works for everyone.

“We’ve worked very closely with our industry stakeholders to design a system that’s streamlined and secure. The design and deployment of STP [Single Touch Payroll] would not have been possible without the hard work of our industry partners – from software developers, tax professionals, super funds, employers and industry associations.”

The ATO is also looking at other ways to use real-time data for reporting obligations, including confirming income and Centrelink benefit recipients – which could save employers “a lot of time”.

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