In a couple of weeks the ATO is asking all employers to do a headcount…….I have to admit this makes me giggle a little. I just have images of everyone lining up all of their staff primary school style and tapping them on the head as they count them and mark the roll. Obviously in the real world it’s as simple as checking the active employees in your payroll data file. Headcount day is April 1st and the reason for the headcount is to determine whether you have 20 or more employees.
If you have 20 or more, then single touch payroll (STP) takes effect from July 1, 2018. This means that you’ll need to use STP enabled software to report your tax and super information to the ATO on payroll day. Breaking that down – this means that right now employers report what they are paying for each employee to the ATO on an annual basis at the same time as issuing payment summaries (or group certificates for those who remember the lingo!) Moving forward, the ATO will be collecting this information per payday. It’s a definite shift to real time reporting.
If you have less than 20 staff, you will be given a further 12 months to get ready for single touch payroll.
The advantages of STP include:
- information currently being provided on payslips will be available through myGov
- STP information will be used to prefil employers activity statements reducing errors and increasing lodgement (and payment!) compliance
- there may be a reduced requirement to provide payment summaries to employees as this information will already be given to the ATO and available in myGov
Clients with files on MYOB online products will automatically be issued with STP enabled software. Other main software providers are also rolling/have rolled out. Anyone who is using desktop software should review for updates as a matter of urgency if the April 1 headcount is 20 or more and also consider moving to an online version if suitable.