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One 12 month STP authority to replace a per pay event authority

Accountants Daily have reported this week that the ATO have done a back-flip on the requirement for agents to get written authority from their employer clients to send pay event data to the ATO, each and every pay event. The ATO will now accept one lodgement authority for STP per client, to be renewed annually. This is a common sense move by the ATO who now understand that asking employers to sign a lodgement authority form for every payrun, is super painful, annoying and inconvenient for all concerned. From the Accountants Daily article:
“Only last week, we had the commissioner sign off on a more streamline process there. It involves an STP engagement authority, where the employer will do quite detailed authorisation upfront with their agent, in terms of what that agent can do on their behalf, including the fact that they can make those declarations on each STP report for the next 12 months,” Assistant Commissioner and Single Touch Payroll Lead at the ATO John Shepherd told Accountants Daily.

Employers may authorise their registered agents to act on their behalf for Single Touch Payroll (STP) through an annual agreement. Click to Tweet

This is very good news for all tax professionals and indeed for their clients. Many clients groan and grump at the continual need to sign authority forms for BAS and income tax lodgements (and others) but do so because they understand the compliance issues behind the action. However, asking employer clients to sign an authority for each and every payrun is completely over the top! Imagine how annoyed they would be if their payroll was on a weekly cycle – that’s 52 signings per year on top of all the other usual signings required – absolutely ridiculous! Luckily someone at the ATO has been listening to all the complaints about this and has seen reason. Now, we as agents only need to get one signature per year for STP lodgements. Finally some common sense has found itself winding in and around the halls of the ATO!