What is Single Touch Payroll and how will it affect me?

What is Single Touch Payroll

Following recent information from the ATO, we have updated the below statement on Single Touch Payroll and everything you need to know to be prepared for the launch of the initiative on July 1st.

The ATO was talking about Single Touch Payroll (STP) as early as 2014, but until recently it hasn't been made clear what STP really is, and how it will affect employers. To help understand what it is, how it'll impact you, and how KeyPay can help, we've put together the following resource guide.

What is Single Touch Payroll?

Single Touch Payroll is a change in the way employers will report their PAYG and super information to the ATO. Employers will now be required to report PAYG and super after a "payroll event" - essentially after payroll has been processed - rather than previously reporting monthly or quarterly. In addition to PAYG, super information must now be reported, which previously wasn't required.

How does Single Touch Payroll benefit employers?

The main benefits for employers with Single Touch Payroll is that it will streamline the process of reporting to the ATO by being able to submit payroll information upon completion.

By doing this the ATO will be able to pre-fill the BAS (W1 and W2) for employers, eliminating potential errors and double handling. Additionally, the need to generate and distribute payment summaries may be eliminated for employees as this information will be made available online via myGov.

Finally, the ATO may allow employers to collect tax file declaration and super choice information online via myGov when onboarding new employees.

When will Single Touch Payroll come into effect?

For employers with 20 or more employees, single touch reporting will be mandatory from July 1 2018.

For employers with 19 or less employees, it is expected that single touch reporting will be mandatory from July 1 2019.

It's important to note that you need to do a "headcount" on April 1 2018 to determine if you have 20 or more employees. Even if you drop under 20 employees by July 1, you may still be considered a substantial employer and be required to use STP reporting, so it's important that you perform a headcount in April.

How will this impact my payroll?

In essence, nothing will change in how you process payroll. The main thing is that after each "payroll event" you will have to send some additional reporting information to the ATO. The obligation is on the employer to send information to the ATO - not the software provider. Although this process should be seamless, you (or your registered agent) will need to provide the authorisation to report this information to the ATO each pay day through your software. So, if your software provider doesn't support Single Touch Payroll by July 1 2018 and you employ 20 or more employees, you may need to look for another provider.

Will KeyPay support Single Touch Payroll?

Yes, absolutely! KeyPay's implementation of STP is well underway. We are developing against the latest version of the Single Touch Payroll specification which is currently in draft but due to be finalised in the near future. We don't have an ETA on when it'll be ready to use, however we will definitely be ready before July 1 2018.

Single Touch Payroll 'Get Ready' Guide

Check out our short video for tips on how to get ready for the July 1 deadline.

Other common questions around Single Touch Payroll

Will I still need to submit a BAS?
Yes - you'll still need to submit a BAS, but the W1 and W2 values will be pre-filled

Will I be able to adjust the pre-filled values on my BAS?

Will I still need to submit an annual payment summary report?
If you use Single Touch Payroll reporting, you may not need to submit a payment summary report.

Will I still need to generate payment summaries for my employees?
If you use STP reporting, you may not need to submit a payment summary report. The ATO will make that information available to employees through myGov.

Can I make PAYG or super payments through Single Touch Payroll?
No, Single Touch Payroll is a reporting solution only. You will still need to make PAYG and super payments separately. If you use KeyPay, PAYG can be processed through an ABA file and super payments can be automated with ClickSuper.

Can I use single touch payroll even if I'm not required to?
Yes - if you're an employer that has 19 employees or under and you want to use Single Touch Payroll, then you should be able to do so.

Can a bureau or payroll provider or registered BAS agent submit Single Touch Payroll data on behalf of a client?
Yes, bureau payroll providers and BAS agents will be able to lodge STP data on behalf of clients

Where can I get more information on STP?
The best place is to check the ATO website.

Phil Bernie

Co-founder of KeyPay. Follow me on:


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