ATO assistant commissioner and STP program lead John Shepherd and bookkeeper Lielette Calleja, director of All That Counts, appeared on the My Business Live webcast on Tuesday (14 May), as part of a panel discussion about Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting and to answer questions from business leaders.
Mr Shepherd revealed that as of Monday (13 May), 100,000 employers are now reporting through the STP system, almost half of which are small businesses that have already begun reporting before the formal 1 July 2019 commencement date.
Several viewers asked whether an AUSkey is required as part of the new payroll reporting standard, while another asked whether their business would need to set up a myGov account.
AUSkey or SSID is needed
The panellists confirmed that an AUSkey is required in order to adopt STP reporting. However, not all businesses will need to have their own.
“Yes, you do at this stage,” Ms Calleja said.
“You still require an AUSkey, whether that’s to use the tax agent or BAS agent portal, or the business portal.”
The ATO's Mr Shepherd subsequently clarified that whether a business will need its own AUSkey will depend on the type of software they use.
“Some products don't require the employer to get their own AUSkey,” he explained.
The ATO's website states the following around the use of an AUSkey for STP:
“Your software can connect directly to the ATO using a device AUSkey (more common for larger employers).
“Alternatively, your software may connect to the ATO using a software service ID (SSID) which is usually displayed by your software during the STP setup.
“You or your registered agent will need to provide the ATO with your SSID. To do this phone 1300 852 232, or complete a one-off notification through Access Manager (you need an AUSkey to use Access Manager).
“We will not be able to receive your STP report without the correct SSID.
“Another option is your software may connect to the ATO through a sending service provider (SSP). If this is how your software connects to the ATO, you do not need to contact the ATO to set up a connection. Your SSP will do this for you.”
What about a myGov account?
This is one area where business leaders can breathe a sigh of relief. According to Mr Shepherd, employers will not be required to have or open a myGov account.
“myGov is a whole-of-government access to services, through one sign-in. What that allows you to do is to see that superannuation information that had been reported, as well as your STP information that’s been reported, so each individual can see that through there,” Mr Shepherd explained.
“But it won’t be mandated.”
He did, however, recommend that anyone who does not have such an account set one up, because of the availability of customised information through the portal.
“It is the way, if you want to get access to your income statement, that you will get that at the end of the year rather than from your employer anymore.
“We suggest it’s a good thing to do, because it gives you access to better services, better information about your individual circumstances ... and you also get access to all your super accounts and you can roll them over.”
Mr Shepherd also recommended that employers notify their staff ahead of the transition to STP that personal income summaries will no longer be issued, and that this information will be made available to them through their own myGov account.
Do employers need to register to begin STP reporting?
Mr Shepherd pre-empted another business question by stating that “you don’t need to register for STP”.
“You just start reporting,” he said.
However, the assistant commissioner did caution that there is one other factor employers will need in order for their reporting to be done correctly.
“You need to nominate a unique software ID to start reporting,” Mr Shepherd said.
“If you don’t do that, your submission will fail and will continue to fail until you do it.”