|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
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!
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 garnishee–
Child 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 amounts–
if 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.
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.
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.
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:
- QBO – ready now
- GovReports – ready now
- MYOB – has a deferral in place with the ATO until 01/01/2023
- Reckon – has a deferral in place with the ATO until 01/01/2023
- Xero – has a deferral in place with the ATO until 31/03/2023
- Saasu – will be ready by 1st March 2022
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.
Have you heard? STP (Single Touch Payroll) is expanding from Phase 1 to, you guessed it, Phase 2. For those who don’t know, STP is a technology that automates the transfer of payroll data from payroll software to government departments, mainly the ATO. STP Phase 2 will see payroll data also being shared with Services Australia, the first in a long list of government departments who will eventually get to see your payroll information (in my opinion). The expansion plan also means that employers will need to update their payroll systems in order to provide much more detail about their payroll at each payroll event (more about that in coming blogs).
This compliance change is happening for better or for worse, so my question is “STP Phase 2, what is it good for?” Absolutely nothing! No, only joking! It turns out that there are quite a few benefits for both employers and employees. This blog will outline those benefits.
Benefits for Employers
Tax File Number Declarations - although you will need to keep copies of your employees' TFN Declarations as part of your employee records, you will no longer need to send them to the ATO. This is because the information will be sent via each pay event through STP.
By nominating an "income type" for employees, you can tell the ATO if you're using concessional reporting for closely held payees or inbound assignees.
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.
If 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.
Data will be shared about some employees with Services Australia (SA). This means that information SA requires from you will be easier to provide e.g. payslips for prior periods.
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.
Child 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.
Benefits for Employees
Income statements will become more accurate because the ATO will have better visibility of the types of income an employee receives.
If an employee makes an error such as failing to report that he has a study loan debt (resulting in an unwanted tax bill), the ATO will be better placed to rectify the issue sooner rather than later.
If employees have dealings with Services Australia (SA), they will see a more streamlined approach to data capture evolve over time, including:
Prefilled details on claim forms and fewer requests for documentation;
Spending less time on the phone to SA to confirm details;
Receiving SMS or email advice when STP data shows their family income estimate may be too low, they have a new job or their employment details have changed in some way;
Ensuring that they are paid the correct amount from SA, and
Helping SA understand their financial situation if employees need to repay a debt to SA.
STP Phase 2 requires employers and bookkeepers to make major changes to payroll set up which in the interim, may seem onerous and pretty annoying. However, as can be seen above, there are many benefits for both employers and employees that will come from STP Phase 2 in the long run.
Of course, time will tell if these changes will run smoothly or have unwanted side effects. We will all have to wait and see how things play out. In the meantime, for those wanting further information about STP Phase 2, please visit the ATO STP Phase 2 resources page.
In our next blog in this series, we will review when the main software providers will be ready for STP Phase 2.
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:
- Select Employees in the left-hand menu
- Select the Payroll Settings tab
- Select ATO Settings
- Select the Electronic Lodgement & STP tab
- 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:
- Select My hosted SBR software services from the left-hand menu;
- Select Notify the ATO of your hosted service
- Search for KeyPay in the list, or alternatively search by entering KeyPay
- Select the ABN link for KeyPay
- Enter the software ID and select Next
- 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!
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.
- Process your regular pay run
- Click on Reports > Single Touch Payroll
- Click on the cog icon, select Regular Pay Event, specify the report settings and click Run
- The data that matches your settings will be displayed and can be checked for accuracy
- Ensure that pays to be submitted are ticked (pay runs will be pre-ticked and can’t be modified), then click the Upload icon
- 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
- 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.
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!
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 will be a four-part series beginning with Xero software. We will cover Saasu, MYOB and QuickBooks Online in subsequent blogs.
Connecting your Xero file for STP
Before proceeding with the connection, it is advised that you review and update your organisation details and also all employee details like dates of birth, tax file numbers and residential addresses. It is also advised that you check your payroll set up especially pay items and ensure they are correct. Your tax professional can assist with this if necessary.
Here are the steps you need in order to connect:
- In the Payroll menu, select “Pay employees”.
- In the message about Changes to the way you report payroll information to the ATO, click “Get started”.
If you don’t want to opt-in right now, close the message by clicking Remind me later. To reopen the message, click Setup Single Touch Payroll.
- Click Opt-in to confirm.
- Review your organisation details. If necessary, click Update Organisation details. Xero will redirect you to the Organisation details page. Otherwise, click Continue.
- To connect your Xero account to the ATO, call the ATO on 1300 852 232. If you use the ATO business portal or have a myGov account, you can also log into Access Manager and nominate Xero as your software service provider there – a bit easier than calling the ATO!
- Provide the ATO with the proof of ownership listed in Xero’s prompt, including your Australian Business Number (ABN) and Software ID (SSID).
- Select the checkbox to confirm you’ve contacted the ATO to connect your Xero account.
- Click Register.
Xero will redirect you back to the Pay employees page. You’ll now see an STP filing column in the Pay Run History table.
Once you’re set-up, the option to report a payment to the ATO will be presented for each pay run and your payroll information will be filed with the tax office each time.
I need more information
No problems! Here is the link to the Xero blog about connecting for STP – includes details for business owners and tax professionals connecting on their clients’ behalf.
In part 2 of our blog series, we will look at how to connect MYOB software for STP purposes.
As mentioned in our last blog, smaller employers with less than 19 employees will need to start reporting their payroll data via Single Touch Payroll by 1 July 2019. That’s not far away and if this affects you, you need to start getting ready now! Don’t panic though, we are here to help and to that end, we have prepared a “get started with STP” checklist to assist you.
Before sharing our checklist with you, just a little bit of background for those in the “I don’t know anything about STP” camp…
What is STP?
STP is a reporting change regarding your payroll. Instead of reporting your payroll data once to the ATO at the end of the financial year, you will report each pay run or “payroll event” (as it is now called) to the ATO at the time it is processed. The reporting will be done via your accounting software. Your payroll processes do not need to change – the only change is that your payroll information will be reported more often to the ATO.
The ATO are trying to streamline the processes for employers and employees regarding all things payroll, from providing employers with current tax file number information and super details of new employees, to allowing employees to see their tax and super information in real time. Some benefits of STP can include:
- No more payment summaries (or “income statements” as they now called). Employers will no longer need to provide employees with payment summaries as they will now access them via their myGov accounts instead, once the final pay event of the financial year is sent to the ATO via STP.
- No more PSAR’s – employers will no longer need to provide the ATO with a payment summary annual report.
- Employees can see at any time, their year-to-date payments from employers, superannuation paid, access their payment summaries and also access their Notice of Assessment once their tax return is completed. They will be able to access all of this information via their myGov accounts.
- Employers will be able to offer online commencement forms to new employees including the TFN declaration, Superannuation Choice form and Medicare levy variation declaration form. This will all be available via myGov and will be provided to both the employer and the employee making onboarding a new employee a more streamlined process and helping to delays and errors.
Getting started with STP Checklist
The first thing to know about STP is that nothing really changes for you. You will continue to process your payroll as you always have except that at the end of each pay run, you will click a button in your accounting software and send the payroll data to the ATO. Of course, before you can do this, you need to set up STP in your software and ensure that the ATO knows about it! Below is a list of items you need to do in order to get ready for STP.
- Decide when you want to start reporting via STP. You can begin right now if you wish, meaning your 2018-19 FY year-to-date payroll data will be sent to the ATO. You can wait until the official start date i.e. July 1 2019 or you can opt in some time between July 2019 and September 30 2019 as the ATO are allowing smaller employers to delay STP until the end of the first quarter in the 2019-20 FY (but no later).
- Employees and myGov accounts. In the near future, all communications from government departments including the ATO, will only be available via a myGov account. You need to tell your employees to register for a myGov account now. Here is a link you can share with employees from the ATO about STP and how it relates to them. You can also provide them with this link to assist them to register for a myGov account https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/online-help/create-mygov-account
- Perform a payroll health check. The ATO advise that it is good practice to review all payroll items and employee setups etc. before starting to report via STP to ensure that payroll data reported is accurate and correct. We think this is a good idea too. Check things like allowances, superannuation rate, salary sacrifice, deductions, PAYG withholding rate, employees’ contact details, using correct award, agreement and/or contract etc.
- Connecting your software to the ATO for STP. In order to lodge payroll data via STP, firstly, you need to notify the ATO of the special software ID (SID) number from your accounting software. There are several ways to do this. If you have access to your business portal, you will notify via Access Manager. If you have your ABN connected to your myGov account, you can notify via myGov. If you don’t have either of those options available, you can call the ATO on 1300 85 22 32 and notify over the phone. Note, this is an important step and if not done, you will not be able to send your STP report to the ATO. See more information here. Once you have notified the ATO re the SID, you are ready to set up STP in your software and start reporting. Below are some links re to how to set up STP in each of the more common accounting software packages to get you started:
Need more help?
Further information or reading. If you would like further information or would like to do some reading about STP, here are some links which may assist you:
- STP FAQ’s. Note: this link comes from the Xero blog. Don’t worry if you are not using Xero – this list of FAQ’s is very good and answers a lot of your questions no matter which software you are using.
- General Info about STP by MYOB
- Single Touch Payroll for Employers
- Single Touch Payroll Employer Reporting Guidelines
We can help – give us a call..
We realise that this is a lot to take in and that you will probably have questions or need assistance with set up. Please feel free to contact us to make an appointment to discuss your needs etc. We’d be happy to assist.