ATO

ATO to Report your Tax Debt to Credit Reporting Agencies

If your business has a tax debt of at least $100K and it is overdue by more than 90 days, chances are you will soon receive a letter from the ATO explaining its intention to report the debt to credit reporting agencies. These letters are known as “Notices of Intent to Disclose”.

 See below for the tax ruling background.

If your tax debt is reported to such credit agencies, this would have a detrimental effect on the business’s ability to maintain a good credit rating or score, leading to a possible inability to lend from banks and finance companies and/or obtain extended payment terms (credit) from suppliers.

The Notice of Intent to Disclose letter will outline ways to avoid reporting action, including paying out the debt, entering into a payment plan and several other methods. It is important to note that where exceptional circumstances have led to, and/or impacted the tax debt, such as family tragedy, serious illness and/or natural disasters, it may be possible to prevent tax debt reporting.

If you think your business may be in the firing line for receipt of one of these letters from the ATO, it would be prudent to contact your tax agent ASAP to discuss the way forward.

More info here: Disclosure of business tax debts (ATO website)

(The measure is known as “Disclosure of Business Tax Debt”, and received Royal Assent on 28th October 2019. This measure can be sourced in Schedule 5 of the Treasury Laws Amendment (2019 Tax Integrity and Other Measures No. 1)).

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How to Apply for an STP 2 Deferral


As you probably know by now, STP Phase 2 has begun. It began on 1st January 2022, with a deferred hard start date by the ATO of 1st March 2022.

Your payroll software provider may have a deferral in place with the ATO for a later start date (see list below) which will cover you as their customer. However, some software providers are ready now and do not have a deferral in place. Examples of these are Quickbooks Online (KeyPay) and Saasu. If you are using one of this software or something else, then your business should be ready for STP 2 and be reporting data to the ATO as per their requirements. (Note, to check if your software is STP 2 enabled, you can go to this ATO page and search for “Payroll Event 2020”. This will produce a list of software that is STP 2 – ready.)

If you know you are not ready and need more time, you can try to apply to the ATO for a deferral. You can do this via Online Services for Business. Simply log in and follow these steps:

1. Select Employees
2. Select STP deferrals and exemptions
3. Select Delayed transition to STP Phase 2 expansion
4. Complete the request
5. Click Submit.

You will also need to advise:
1. Which payroll software is being used;
2. The reason a delay is being sought, and
3. The expected date the business will be able to start reporting under STP 2.

Software Providers with a Current STP 2 Deferral
The following SPs have a current deferral in place with the ATO which also covers you, as their customer:

Xero – up to 31/12/22
MYOB – up to 01/01/23
Reckon – up to 01/01/23
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Transitioning to STP Phase 2 – Planning Ahead

This is the final blog in a four-part blog series about STP Phase 2. In part one of this blog series, we looked at the benefits of phase 2, then, in part two, we outlined which software providers are ready for STP 2 now. Part three in the series delved deeper into the technical side of STP Phase 2. This final blog will focus on the sorts of things employers or their bookkeepers can do now, in order to plan ahead for a smooth transition to STP Phase 2.

STP Phase 2 will require employers and/or bookkeepers to firstly understand how it will change payroll, and secondly, the specific changes they need to make to their own payroll. It can be overwhelming and confusing, to say the least! The main thing to remember is that your payroll provider will do most of the heavy lifting in terms of creating the infrastructure needed to facilitate STP 2. Your job is to understand the terminology and how the new reporting requirements apply to your payroll setup and your employees/payees. This may take some time, and thankfully, time is on your side, given the ATO has provided a blanket deferral until 1st March 2022. Also, several payroll providers have attained a much longer deferral which also covers their customers.

The best thing you can do is to start to review your current payroll setup. Check employees’ details both personal and payroll-related. I have created a spreadsheet you can use to review your current employees/payees which you can download and use as needed (see below). This spreadsheet will collate most of the information you will need in order to transition to STP 2. Start the process by completing the spreadsheet and then, when you are ready to transition, you will have most of the required information at your fingertips. 

Next, sit down with your employees/payees and explain what will happen once STP 2 begins. Tell them about how their information will be shared with the ATO and Services Australia. Explain that their payslips and income statements will look different and why. You may need to ask payees for more personal information during the setup of STP 2 – try to get ahead of the game and find out what sorts of data you don’t have and work with your payees to obtain it.

Keep an eye on your payroll provider’s pathway to STP 2. Your provider will advise you when you can transition and how it is to be done within the software itself. This may not happen for some months, but you can still prepare as per my above tips!

Lastly, think about when you would like to transition to STP 2. Yes, there are time constraints as per the ATO but they do say you can move over at any time during the year (provided you are covered by a deferral). However, you may like to put a plan in place and decide on a cutover date. That way, you can work towards the move to STP 2 in a timely manner and in a fashion that works for you and your business.

Lastly, to help you with your STP 2 plan and research, the ATO has created a set of guidelines for employers (see below). Download it and pop it away for use when you are ready to transition (or start your research now). Remember, don’t panic! There’s plenty of time and there will be a lot of help available to you when the time comes to tackle STP Phase 2!

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STP Phase 2 – Getting down and dirty

This is the third blog in a series about STP Phase 2. The first blog looked at the benefits of STP Phase 2 and the second one outlined which software providers are ready for the changes now. In this blog, we’ll get down and dirty and cover the detail behind STP Phase 2:

  • What is it?
  • When does it start?
  • What is changing?
  • How payroll is changing and what it will look like - getting technical!

What is STP Phase 2?

Basically, STP Phase 2 is the same as STP Phase 1 except that more payroll data now needs to be reported. STP 2 requires drilling down into the details about your payees, their payments, PAYG withheld, and superannuation. These extra details will be shared with the ATO and Services Australia, providing them with greater visibility about your payees and you, as an employer.

When does STP Phase start?

The start date is 1st January 2022, however, the ATO has issued a blanket deferral to all employers who may not be ready (or their software provider isn’t ready) to the 1st March 2022. See our second blog in this series to see if your software provider has a deferral in place that extends your start date beyond 1st March 2022.

What is changing?

While the overall process of transferring your payroll data to the ATO via STP is not changing, there are some specific attributes of the process that will change. These are listed below:

  • Reporting of income types and country codes - see graphic below.
  • Disaggregation of gross income - you will be required to report more detail about income including gross, allowances, paid leave, overtime, bonuses and commissions, directors' fees and salary sacrifice.
  • New fields to replace Tax File Number Declaration services - while you will still need to retain a copy of the employee's TFND, you will no longer be required to send a copy to the ATO as data relating to the TFND will be transmitted at each and every pay event.
  • Lump Sum E by financial year - If you need to make a Lump Sum E payment (back payments more than 12 months old), you won't need to provide a Lump Sum E letter to your employee as it will be included in the STP report.
  • Adding new cessation type reason - because the date and reason for employment cessation will be in the STP report, you will no longer need to complete and provide separation certificates to employees.
  • New Child Support Agency deduction and garnisheeChild Support deductions and/or garnishees will be reported via STP reducing the need for you to send separate remittance advice to the Child Support Registrar.
  • Transferring payee year-to-date amountsif you change software type or an employee's payroll ID number, this will be reported via the STP report. This will help avoid duplicate income statements appearing in employees' myGov accounts.
  • Separately reporting salary sacrifice - you will be required to report the pre-sacrificed income as well as the amount of salary sacrifice.
Income Types and Country Codes

What will payroll look like under STP Phase 2?

As you can see from the list above, the types of data you will report via STP 2 will change. Specifically, there is more data required than that reported via STP Phase 1. In order to report this extra data, your payroll needs to be set up correctly. There will be new income types (see above) and new STP codes used by the ATO to read your data. The income types (both old and new) will need to be mapped to these new STP codes. Further to this, each employee setup will require some review/checking and new fields populated, including tax treatment codes and/or country codes (see below link). (Our next blog will provide you with a spreadsheet you can use to gather the information you will need for each of your employees before you set up STP Phase 2 in your software.)

Our main message to you is “do not panic”! Your software provider will assist you with the move to STP 2 when the time comes. In the meantime, we suggest that you do some research to assist you in better understanding how your payroll will be affected by STP Phase 2. To help you with this, we have created the below table. There are links to relevant ATO web pages which will provide specific information about how STP 2 relates to your employees, their payments, and tax withheld from those payments.

About your PayeesAbout Payments to PayeesAbout PAYG WH
Commencement DateIncome Stream TypeTax Scale Category
Cessation DatePayment CategoryTax Treatment Code
Cessation ReasonPayment ClassificationAnnual Tax Offset Amount
TFN or ABN (or both)DeductionsMedicare Levy
Employment BasisChild Support
Payroll IDAllowances
Country CodesTermination Payments
Income StreamSuperannuation

In our next blog in this series, we will tell you how you can get ready for STP 2 Phase 2, even if your software provider hasn’t begun to roll it out.

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Is your software provider ready for STP Phase 2 now?

STP Phase 2 has started! It began on 1st January 2022 and if you are ready and your software is ready, you can begin to report your payroll via this next stage of STP now!

If you aren’t ready, don’t worry, the ATO has provided a blanket deferral to the 1st March 2022. This means that if your software is ready now, you have until 01/03/22 to ensure you are organised and have updated your payroll data to enable a smooth transition to STP Phase 2 reporting.

But how do you know if your software is ready? Most providers would have contacted you by now to explain their plans, but in case you missed their emails, here is a summary of the main providers and whether or not they are ready now:

Note – if your software provider has a deferral as per the above list, then you, as an employer, are covered by that deferral.

In our next blog in this series, we take a look at the technical side of STP Phase 2 and what it means for your payroll.

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JobMaker Hiring Credit

Employers now have more incentive to employ workers under 35! The JobMaker Hiring credit legislation has now been passed into law! This credit was part of the 2020-21 Budget, which will operate until 6 October 2022. It is designed to improve the prospects of young individuals getting employment following the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the labour market.

Commencement

The scheme will be backdated to commence on 7 October 2020 and provide eligible employers with the following payments for up to 12 months for new jobs created for which they hire the following young workers:

• $200 a week for hiring a worker aged 16 to 29 for at least 20 hours a week and

• $100 a week for those aged 30 to 35.

Although the scheme is slated to run for just 12 months, that period is the hiring period – not the payment period. Eligible employers who hire an eligible employee as late as the last day of the scheme (6 October 2021), may be eligible for hiring credits for the subsequent 12 months until 6 October 2022.

Employer Eligibility

As an employer, you will be deemed eligible for JobMaker if the following criteria are met:

  • for the first 6 months of JobMaker, you have hired additional eligible employees (minimum of one additional employee). This is determined by a headcount as at 30 September 2020 and the payroll of the business for the reporting period, as compared to the three-months to 30 September 2020.
  • have an ABN,
  • are registered for PAYG withholding,
  • are up-to-date with lodgement obligations for the previous 2 years (including BAS and income tax returns) and
  • are reporting payroll through STP

You will not be deemed eligible if any of the following apply:

  • you are claiming JobKeeper for your business,
  • you have entities in liquidation or who have entered bankruptcy
  • your entity is a commonwealth, state, and local government agency (and entities wholly owned by these agencies)
  • you are subject to the major bank levy
  • your business is a sovereign entity (except those who are resident Australian entities owned by a sovereign entity.
Employee Eligibility

Employees will be eligible if they:

  • commenced employment between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2021
  • were aged between 16 and 35 years at the time they commenced employment
  • have worked an average of 20-hours a week for each whole week the individual was employed by the qualifying entity during the JobMaker period.

Additionally, the worker must have met the pre-employment condition which requires that for at least 28 of the 84 days (i.e. for 4 out of 12 weeks) immediately BEFORE the commencement of employment of the individual, the individual was receiving one of the following payments:

  • parenting payment
  • youth allowance (except if the individual was receiving this payment on the basis that they were undertaking full time study or was a new apprentice) or
  • JobSeeker payment.

We note that the new worker must be in a genuine employment relationship. For example, ‘non-arms length’ employees will not be considered eligible employees. This includes family members of a family business, directors of a company and shareholders of a company.

A summary of the above can be downloaded here – this a nifty fact sheet from the ATO. Also from the ATO, is this useful JHC payment calculator. Further fact sheets and information can be found here on this ATO page.

If you have hired new employees from October 2020 or are planning to do so in the next 12 months and are interested in the JobMaker Hiring Credit program, please get in touch with us for further information and assistance.

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Super Amnesty – Yes? No? Maybe!

Back in May 2018, the first iteration of a law for an amnesty on unpaid historical superannuation was announced, but due to the calling of the Federal election at the time, it did not pass. A second iteration of the law, known as the “Recovering Unpaid Superannuation” Bill, was launched in September 2019. This second attempt was given the green light by the Senate Economics Legislation Committee in November 2019. The Bill is yet to receive royal assent, but if achieved, will mean that many employers will be given the chance to self-report their non-compliance and avoid the usual penalties as a reward.


What does the new Bill include?

The second iteration of the Bill to recover unpaid super includes the following:

  • The period of historical reporting is from 1 July 1992 to 31 March 2018.
  • The amnesty period will be for 6 months from the date of royal assent.
  • Employers must self-report to be eligible to partake in the amnesty.
  • Payments of super made during the amnesty will be tax deductible (note, usually late super payments are not tax deductible).
  • Administration fees associated with reporting later super to the ATO will be waived.
  • Interest charges will still apply.

But will it pass?

While the recent thumbs up by the Senate Committee is a step closer to the Bill being passed, there is still a way to go mainly because Labor Senators don’t agree with the Bill. They cite that this will give non-compliant employers an unfair advantage over employers who are doing the right thing. They don’t agree that the payments should be tax deductible or that fees be waived as this sends the message that being non-compliant is “okay” and will be forgiven, even rewarded. Further to this, those employers who usually pay on time but who may err occasionally, will still be subject to all super guarantee penalties and will not enjoy any tax deductions given the amnesty does not apply to any pay period post 1 January 2018. Labor do not support the Bill due to it giving rise to this unfair playing field. They believe the Bill rewards those employers who have been non-compliant for breaking the law.

We aren’t sure what will happen, but given Parliament will not sit now until February next year (2020), nothing will go ahead until then. If the Bill is passed, we will be sure to let you know and also how we can assist you if you are an employer who would like to take advantage of the amnesty. Please note, we certainly won’t cast any judgement on you if you are in this predicament and you come to us for help. While Labor has a point, we are in favour of any vehicle that will put money that is owed to employees back in their pockets – after all, it is their money! Watch this space – we’ll update this blog if/when the Bill is passed.

Update! SG Amnesty Bill passes Parliament so it is definitely a YES!

As of 24th February 2020, the “Recovering Unpaid Superannuation” Bill 2019 has been passed in both houses and is awaiting royal assent. At that point, the amnesty period will start from 24th May 2018 and end six months from the date royal assent is received. Employers will be able to self-disclose non-paid historical superannuation for past and present employees. It is noted that if employers do not voluntarily disclose their historical SGC debt during the amnesty, they will face significantly higher penalties if the ATO conducts an audit. So, if you are an employer in this situation, you are best to contact your tax adviser ASAP and make arrangements to take advantage of this amnesty because it’s a once-only offer from the ATO – I doubt we’ll ever see it again.

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How to set up STP in your accounting software – part 4 – QuickBooks Online AU

If you’re a small employer with 19 employees or less, you had until 30 September 2019 to connect your accounting software to the ATO for Single Touch Payroll (STP) purposes. That date has come and gone but if you still haven’t connected your file for STP, it’s not too late! In this four-part series, we aim to help you by showing you how to enable STP in your file. We began the series by looking at enabling STP in Xero, MYOB and Saasu. Today, in the fourth and final blog in this series, we will cover QuickBooks Online (QBO).


Connecting your QBO file for STP

1. Setting up ATO Supplier Settings

The first step in enabling STP in your QBO file is to make sure your ATO supplier settings are correct. To check this, go to Employees, then Payroll Settings, then ATO Settings. Next, select “I will be lodging reports to the ATO as the employer” (choose one of the other options if you aren’t the employer)

Now you need to complete the form on this page or if you’re in a hurry, you can simply scroll to the bottom of the page and select “Copy from Business Settings” and then all details will populate as if by magic!

2. Enabling STP and Electronic Lodgement

To enable STP in QBO, you must first enable electronic lodgement. Do this as follows:

  1. Select Employees in the left-hand menu
  2. Select the Payroll Settings tab
  3. Select ATO Settings
  4. Select the Electronic Lodgement & STP tab
  5. Contact the ATO on 1300 852 232 and provide them with your Software Provider and Software ID or Update your details through Access Manager

As a tip, your Software Provider is “KeyPay”, not QBO! Also, your Software ID number is shown on the Electronic Lodgement page. While you can call the ATO as above, the easiest way to update the ATO with your STP details is via Access Manager. To do this follow these steps:

Log in to Access Manager using your myGov credentials if you are the eligible associate or authorised staff of the business and follow these steps:

  1. Select My hosted SBR software services from the left-hand menu;
  2. Select Notify the ATO of your hosted service
  3. Search for KeyPay in the list, or alternatively search by entering KeyPay
  4. Select the ABN link for KeyPay
  5. Enter the software ID and select Next
  6. Read the Notification statement then select Save. A green success message will appear on the next screen to confirm success.

The final part of set up is to select “Enable Electronic Lodgement” and then “Enable Single Touch Payroll”, then select “Confirm”. At this point you are done and can start reporting your payroll to the ATO at each pay run or as the ATO like to call them “Pay Events”.

We hope you have enjoyed this four-part blog series about enabling your accounting files for STP and that it has assisted you to get the job done! As per usual, if you are having difficulty getting connected, please do not hesitate to contact us – we’d be happy to take a look for you!

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How to set up STP in your accounting software – part 3 – Saasu

If you’re a small employer with 19 employees or less, you had until 30 September 2019 to connect your accounting software to the ATO for Single Touch Payroll (STP) purposes. If you haven’t yet done so because you simply don’t know how to do it, then this blog is for you! This is a four-part series and we began the series by looking at STP and Xero software and MYOB. Today we will review STP and Saasu. In the final part of this series, we will also cover QuickBooks Online.


Connecting your Saasu file for STP – or perhaps not!!

Saasu’s set up process for STP is probably the easiest of all the accounting software because there isn’t one – that’s right, you read right – there isn’t one! As per Saasu.com“There are no special settings that you need to enable STP in Saasu. It will be available on all files and the authentication with the ATO is done behind the scenes.”

In order to get ready for STP, all Saasu ask of you is that you review your current payroll and company set up and ensure the following is in place:

  • Confirm employee information is accurate – including name, address (including postcode), main phone number (including area code and no spaces), date of birth, and gender, on the Employee Details page (View > Employees > click ‘View or Edit Employee Details’ icon)
  • Confirm that your ABN or Withholding Provider Number (WPN), address (including postcode and state is in short form (i.e VIC, QLD etc) , and phone number (including area code and no spaces) is entered on the File Identity page (cog icon > Settings for this file > File Identity)
  • Check your payroll processes and ensure your pay items are correct and you are paying staff properly. Especially check pay items like allowances and deductions.
  • You must be using the payroll function in Saasu rather than entering payroll information via journal otherwise STP reporting will not work.

Once you have reviewed the above and are satisfied that your set up is adequate, then you are ready to report your first payrun to the ATO via STP – easy huh!

Reporting your payrun to the ATO

This following is taken from the Saasu website.

  1. Process your regular pay run
  2. Click on Reports > Single Touch Payroll
  3. Click on the cog icon, select Regular Pay Event, specify the report settings and click Run
  4. The data that matches your settings will be displayed and can be checked for accuracy
  5. Ensure that pays to be submitted are ticked (pay runs will be pre-ticked and can’t be modified), then click the Upload icon
  6. Before the report is submitted to the ATO you will need to authorise the submission by agreeing to “Sign declaration with my email address” (this is the email address you are signed into Saasu with) and click Submit
  7. The ATO has a standard response time of up to 72 hours before the upload is accepted and successful. At times, this may be quicker and could be as little as 10 minutes. You can move away from this screen and continue to work on other things in Saasu while the STP report is being processed.

Remember to come back to the Single Touch Payroll Report screen (Reports > Single Touch Payroll) about 10-15mins after you have submitted a regular Pay Event. This is to ensure the submission has been accepted by the ATO, and there are no errors that need further attention. If you haven’t moved away from this screen then you may need to refresh your browser to see the updated information.

Note: Once a Pay Event has been submitted to the ATO, you cannot submit any further Pay Events until the previous submission has been accepted or, if rejected, the submission result actioned.


So there you have it – there isn’t really any major set up of STP for Saasu which makes it very easy for users to comply with STP requirements. I must say I am a fan of this scenario given that other software do involve many more steps to enable STP connection which can be frustrating for users. Keep it simple stupid I say! In our final blog in this series, we will look at how to connect STP in Quickbooks Online.

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How to set up STP in your accounting software – part 2 – MYOB AccountRight

If you’re a small employer with 19 employees or less, you have until 30 September 2019 to connect your accounting software to the ATO for Single Touch Payroll (STP) purposes. If you haven’t yet done so because you simply don’t know how to do it, then this blog is for you! This is a four-part series and we began the series by looking at STP and Xero software. In subsequent blogs we will also cover Saasu and QuickBooks Online.


Connecting your MYOB file for STP

Before the connection of the file to ATO happens, MYOB will ask you to verify that your payroll details, including employee setup, are correct. To begin, go to the Payroll Command Centre and click on “Payroll Reporting”. You will be directed to the “check payroll details” window which will list any anomalies MYOB has found which may inhibit STP connection.

Click on the arrow next to each error and fix the error as needed, then click on “check payroll details” again. If no further errors are found, then you are ready to connect to the ATO.

NB! ATO reporting categories need to be assigned to all of your payroll categories which you are reporting before you use STP. The above check will highlight which payroll categories need to be assigned an ATO reporting category.

To connect, click on “Payroll Reporting”.

Now click on “Connect to the ATO”

If you are the business owner and you will be processing payroll and lodging the payroll via STP, then follow the below directions:

  • Make sure you have your ABN handy.
  • Where you are asked for your role, choose “Someone from the Business”
  • Enter your declarer information including ABN, name, contact details etc.
  • Skip the “Add Clients” step.
  • At the “Notify ATO” step, you will need to provide the ATO with the Software ID number which will be shown to you in the next screen.
  • To give the ATO that special number, you can either call the ATO on this number 1300 85 22 32 or you can notify via Access Manager. You can find Access Manager either in your Business Portal or in your myGov account.

Once you’ve notified the ATO that you are using MYOB software, click on “I’ve notified the ATO” and in the message that appears, click “I’ve notified the ATO”.

If you’re a Tax or BAS Agent who will be processing and lodging payroll on behalf of a business, do exactly the same as above, however for the choice of role, choose “Tax or BAS Agent” and enter your own ABN and registered agent number. You will need to add the client in the “Add Clients” step if they aren’t already in your portal client list. Then note down the Software ID presented to you (note, this number is unique to you – you cannot use your client’s ID and they cannot use yours). Notify the ATO of your ID number as per above. Again, once this is done, you will need to click “I’ve notified the ATO”.

And as Porky Pig would say, “Th-th-th-that’s all folks!” It’s as simple as that. Of course, if you don’t find this as simple as it should be, don’t be shy, give us a call and we’ll see if we can help you out.

In the next blog, we’ll look at how STP is connected in Saasu (or not, as the case may be….). Intrigued? Don’t forget to check in and take a read to find out what we mean!

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