Small employers: It’s time to move to Single Touch Payroll

Featured | Finance

By Loren Webb

Small employers (those with 19 or less employees) need to get ready for Single Touch Payroll (STP) ahead of the 30 September start date.

STP became mandatory for small employers from 1 July this year, however, the ATO granted an extension to businesses that needed more time to get ready until 30 September.

Recent insights from Xero suggest that a huge 60% of Australian businesses are still yet to register for STP.

The ATO is working with employers to ensure they understand their options for STP, whether that is reporting now, getting a deferral, or working with their tax or BAS agent to report quarterly (if eligible).

There are also concessions available for employers that employ, family members or other ‘closely held’ payees, micro employers with one to four employees, those who employ intermittent or seasonal workers or employers who don’t have access to a reliable internet connection.

ATO Assistant Commissioner Jason Lucchese said now is the time for small employers to be aware of their options and take the right steps to get ready.

“More than 400,000 employers are already reporting their employees’ tax and superannuation information digitally through STP, but we understand all employers operate in slightly different ways and every industry has unique challenges which can affect their payroll processes,” Mr Lucchese said.

“Regardless of whether you’re ready to start reporting, or if you still need more time to get ready, there are options available to you.

To help small employers better understand their options, the ATO has developed a range of handy factsheets and other resources which are available on the ATO’s website. There’s also an interactive online quiz to help determine what their next step should be.

Jennifer Bourke, BAS Agent at D&J Bourke has worked with small employers to help them transition to STP, and says there is a solution for everyone.

“D&J Bourke services clients across metropolitan and regional Victoria, many of which depend on our services for their bookkeeping and BAS servicing as they are small businesses sometimes employing no more than one employee.

“We use multiple STP enabled systems on behalf of our clients and have found the upgrade and software solutions to be easy to use and have now got all our applicable clients either on to STP or have applied for a deferral to give them more time to get ready,” Ms Bourke said.

“The ATO is committed to working with each employer to ensure their various needs are met and the Commissioner of Taxation, Chris Jordan has reassured small employers that the ATO’s approach will be flexible, reasonable and pragmatic with no penalties for mistakes, missed or late payments for the first year.”

For more information about Single Touch Payroll, visit

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