What is Single Touch Payroll?
On 28th December 2014, the Minister for Small Business and the Assistant Treasurer announced that the Government will cut red tape for employers by simplifying tax and superannuation reporting obligations through Single Touch Payroll (STP).
- Under STP, employers will use business management software to report (and potentially pay) PAYGW and super guarantee at the same time as wages are paid to employees.
- This will eliminate the need for employers to report employee-related PAYGW in their activity statements throughout the year and employee payment summaries at the end of the year.
- In addition, the Government will streamline Tax File Number declarations and Super Choice forms by providing digital services to simplify the process of bringing on new employees.
- STP builds on the Government’s investment in Standard Business Reporting and relies on software developers to provide software solutions that meet the needs of employers.
STP will be available from July 2016 and transition arrangements will be the subject of consultation with the business community early in 2015. Consultation will focus on:
- The phasing of the start date for different sized employers to report via Single Touch Payroll
- The arrangements to support the move to Single Touch Payroll.
- The potential for employers to pay PAYGW and the Superannuation Guarantee at the same time employees are paid their salary and wages and what support would be required for this.
ATO aims in part:
- A comprehensive understanding of how users want or need to use current products and processes and how this will change as a result of the new/changed products and processes that STP will deliver.
- STP champions that will work with peers and clients to build understanding and support during transition and beyond.
- To jointly develop a high level plan, including timeframes, and ensure the Governments agenda is delivered (and the critical date of July 2016).
Single Touch Payroll is a concept that leverages the natural payroll cycles to fulfil all “employer” reporting and payment obligations to various government agencies and other intermediaries “at the touch of a single button”. Business would follow their normal business processes in completing their payroll. The payroll process could allow businesses to simultaneously fulfil their reporting and payment obligations (for example, paying staff and issuing payslips, reporting and paying earnings and taxes to Government and reporting superannuation electronically).
The concept could also provide a foundation for:
- Improving the annual individual income tax return process as information will be available on an ongoing basis;
- The provision of a single universal citizen account (enabling the balancing of payments or liabilities across government agencies); and
- Eliminating the need for income reporting by individuals to other agencies (for example, in welfare, student or child support areas).
We’re excited about Single Touch Payroll and will keep you appraised as the process is implemented.