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Single Touch Payroll will streamline payroll reporting for employers.
Employers with 20 or more employees will need to use Single Touch Payroll-enabled software to report to the ATO from 1 July 2018. It will align reporting obligations to existing payroll process – no matter how employee pay arrangements are structured.
In August 2017, The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services announced changes to super fund reporting. Funds will report to the ATO when an employer pays their employees’ super entitlements. The initial design of Single Touch Payroll put the onus on employers to report to the ATO when they paid their employees’ superannuation.
The Australian Government also announced it would expand Single Touch Payroll to employers with 19 or less employers from 1 July 2019, this is subject to passage of legislation.
About Single Touch Payroll
Employers will report payments such as salaries and wages, pay as you go
(PAYG) withholding and super information to the ATO from their payroll solution at the same time they pay their employees.
Employers may need to update their payroll solution (accounting software) to report through Single Touch Payroll. Some employers may need to choose a new payroll solution that is Single Touch Payroll-enabled.
There are also changes to the way super funds report to the ATO. Funds will be required to report the payment of super contributions more frequently to us (known as event-based reporting). This will create visibility of non-payment or late payment of super guarantee and enable us to take prompt action.
Software developers are building updates to their products to offer Single Touch Payroll reporting from 1 July 2018. Some software developers may need a deferred start date and have already applied for a deferral.
What you need to know Single Touch Payroll Who has to report?
Employers with 20 or more employees will be required to report through Single Touch Payroll.
The Australian Government has announced it will extend Single Touch Payroll to employers with 19 or less employees from 1 July 2019. This will be subject to legislation being passed in Parliament.
When do I start reporting?
Employers will need to do a headcount of the number of employees they have on 1 April 2018. If they have 20 or more employees on that date, they will need to start reporting to the ATO through a Single Touch Payroll-enabled solution from 1 July 2018.
Which employees do I include?
All employees within the ordinary (common law) meaning of ’employee’.
Excludes independent contractors, staff provided by a third party labour hire organisation, company directors, office holders, religious practitioners or any employee who ceased work prior to 1 April.
What and how often do I have to report?
Payments such as salaries and wages, pay as you go (PAYG) withholding and super information at the same time you pay your employees.
What wont I have to do if I report through Single Touch Payroll?
Employers may not need to provide the ATO with an end of year payment summary.
Single Touch Payroll Features
Employers who report an employee’s payment and withholding details through Single Touch Payroll may not have to provide that employee with a payment summary at the end of the financial year. The ATO will provide this payment and withholding information to employees through mayo.
Pre-filled activity statements
In future, some of the information reported through Single Touch Payroll will be used to pre-fill parts of the employer’s activity statement (labels
W1 and W2). Large withholders will not have to report PAYG withholding through their activity statement.
Over time, commencement forms for new employees can be completed online and some information will be pre-filled and validated. This includes Tax file number declaration, Superannuation standard choice form and Withholding declaration forms.
Employers who report an employee’s payment and withholding details through Single Touch Payroll may not have to provide that employee with a payment summary at the end of the financial year. The ATO will provide this payment and withholding information to employees through myGov.
Employees will be able to see their year-to-date tax and super information online through myGov as their employer transitions to Single Touch Payroll reporting.
The Government announced Single Touch Payroll reporting will be extended to include employers with 19 or less employers (including small businesses).
Subject to passage of legislation.
Employers with 19 employees or less do not have to wait until then to report through Single Touch Payroll. They can choose to update their payroll solution (if they have one) when it’s ready, and start reporting.
We understand there is a small but significant group of small employers (less than 10%, or around 70,000) who don’t report regularly to the ATO using digital means, or don’t currently use payroll software. This is the group that is expected to require the most help to transition to Single Touch Payroll.
The ATO is not intending to develop a Single Touch Payroll reporting solution at this stage. We are currently working with the software industry to support and encourage them to develop low cost/no cost options for small employers. They will need to include options for reporting to the ATO through solutions other than payroll systems, as some smaller employers do not need payroll software. We expect new solutions to be available by 1 July 2019 – the expected start date for employers with 19 employees or less employees. We will review the options available on the market by 1 July 2018 and determine if a different strategy is needed.
We’ll provide tailored help and support to help small businesses make this change. This could include additional time to get ready, exemptions where appropriate, webinars and dedicated call centre staff trained in Single Touch Payroll.
Small businesses can ask a third party to report through Single Touch Payroll on their behalf, e.g. a registered agent such as a bookkeeper or payroll service provider.
Changes to super reporting
There are also changes to super reporting.
The ATO has worked with the super industry to redesign large super fund reporting. This initiative is known as the APRA fund superannuation reporting transformation. The initiative includes the requirement for super funds to report to the ATO more regularly (known as event-based reporting).
This will create visibility of non-payment or late payment of super entitlements and enable the ATO to take prompt action.
Under the new design, super funds will report contribution payment transactions through the Member Account Transaction Service (MATS).
Employers will not be required to report the payment of super contributions to the ATO through Single Touch Payroll.
Single Touch Payroll updates