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ATO to begin contacting businesses over STP

Jotham Lian
Jotham Lian
23 January 2019 1 minute readShare
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The ATO will begin to contact small businesses already using payroll software in a bid to get them to start Single Touch Payroll reporting before the 1 July deadline.

From 29 January, the tax office will begin writing to small employers who have 19 or less employees and already use payroll software.

It will inform them about Single Touch Payroll (STP) and that they do not need to wait for legislation to pass before they start reporting through STP.

Small businesses will also be encouraged to speak to their tax practitioner for any enquiries.

“If their payroll software offers STP, they can update their software and start reporting now,” the ATO said in an online update.

“We are letting them know that they can contact you if they have questions, and that their digital service provider will let them know when their software offers STP.”

There are approximately 781,908 businesses with 19 or less employees in Australia. That’s about 36.8 per cent of all Australian businesses, according to ABS data.

Broken down, micro businesses with one to four employees account for 584,744 of that total, and the remaining 197,164 are businesses with five to 19 employees.

Late last year, the bill proposing to extend STP to employers with 19 or less employees from 1 July 2019, was passed by the Senate, but has yet to be legislated.

This is due to proposed amendments to other measures contained in the same bill, notably the addition of entities as deductible gift recipients, and are not related to STP.

The bill has been referred back to the House of Representatives to consider those amendments and will only be heard when Parliament resumes on 12 February.

In essence, small businesses can expect STP to kick off as expected on 1 July 2019.

In preparation for the rollout across all businesses, the ATO began seeking expressions of interest from digital service providers to develop low-cost STP software for the micro business sector.

It has since published an initial list of suppliers who will provide such solutions that are required to be affordable, costing less than $10 per month, takes only minutes to complete each pay period, and does not require the employer to maintain the software.

You can listen to ATO STP lead John Shepherd speak about what small businesses can expect ahead of the 1 July 2019 deadline and the range of alternative options available via My Business sister publication Accountants Daily.

ATO to begin contacting businesses over STP
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Jotham Lian
Jotham Lian

Adam Zuchetti is the former editor of MyBusiness and a senior freelance media professional, specialising in the fields of business, personal finance and property. In 2020, he also embarked on his own business journey – inspired in part by the entrepreneurs and founders he had met through his journalistic work – with the launch of customised pet gifting and subscription service Paws N’ All.

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