“The solutions are required to be affordable (costing less than $10 per month), take only minutes to complete each pay period and not require the employer to maintain the software,” the ATO stated on its website.
“These solutions may include mobile apps, simple reporting solutions and portals.”
Among the list of software options already up and running are a free option by Free Accounting Software and an initially free option by AccXite, which will revert to a $10 monthly charge from 1 January 2020.
The others — including ePayroll, Wages 1-4, STP – Data and CloudPayroll Micro — are all listed at “$10 or less per month”.
But many more software options are still under development, the ATO said, including those offered by the major software providers.
Most are priced at “$10 or less per month”, although some are being rolled out free of charge. One, sodaPAY, will be accessible for a one-off fee of $20.
Single Touch Payroll (STP) is being introduced to employers with more than 20 employees from the start of the current financial year (1 July 2019).
But the extension of this new electronic reporting standard hit a snag with smaller employers, particularly micro employers, given that many do not already have electronic accounting software in place, and also that many do not pay themselves and family members at regular weekly, fortnightly or monthly intervals.
Despite business concerns, Matthew Addison — executive chairman of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB), who was part of industry consultations over the development of STP — told My Business recently that the system had been specifically designed to “leverage off what were existing natural business systems”.
In doing so, Mr Addison suggested that the impact on businesses of adopting the new reporting measure will be minimal. “Really, it’s an extra click of a button,” he said.
The ATO has since offered a one-year extemption for closely held payees, including family members.
Last month, legislation extending STP to cover employers of all size was approved by Parliament, to commence from 1 July this year.
To help with the transition, the ATO has offered small businesses a three-month leeway on the reporting requirement.