26th March, 2018

Single Touch Payroll: Get your headcount done on 1 April!

The single touch payroll (STP) revolution is here! The first step that changes the way you report to the ATO will happen on 1 April 2018.

In case you missed it, STP is set to make your life easier. Say goodbye to rolling a whole bunch of separate reporting requirements together at the end of every financial year, and say hello to an automatic, more regular report.

This reporting change is mandatory. Your payroll software will need to be STP-enabled or it won’t work.

From 1 July this year (for businesses with 20 or more employees), salaries, wages, PAYG withholding and superannuation data goes to the ATO when you process payments.

Breathe easy at the end of the financial year knowing this information has already reached the ATO, provided in regular stints.

You won’t need to change the number of pay runs you do either.

Sounds great, right?

Luckily, a suite of MYOB software for bigger business such as MYOB Greentree is already STP-enabled. If you’re on board, there’s no need to worry.

Mandatory reporting kicks in on 1 July 2019 for companies with fewer than 20 employees. But there’s nothing stopping smaller companies from moving to STP sooner rather than later.

The great news is that MYOB is moving quickly to integrate STP reporting into products like AccountRight as well – with a beta trial recently wrapped up.

Whether you’re a big company, a small company, or somewhere in between, there’s something you’ll need to do on 1 April: a headcount.

Getting ready for the headcount

To confirm which reporting deadline is relevant for your business, you first need to figure out how many employees you have.

The important thing to note here is that the headcount is for your own reference, to figure out whether you need to start STP reporting on 1 July this year, or next year.

It does not need to be reported to the ATO.

For the sake of the headcount, here’s what the ATO considers to be an ‘employee’

  • full-time employees
  • part-time employees
  • casual employees who are on your payroll on 1 April and worked any time during March
  • overseas-based employees
  • any employee who is absent or on leave
  • seasonal employees (for example, they may be harvest workers)

For the sake of STP, these are not employees:

  • any employee who ceased work before 1 April
  • casual employees who did not work in March
  • independent contractors
  • staff hired by a third-party labour hire company
  • company directors
  • office holders
  • religious practitioners

Staffing numbers don’t need to be complicated. It can literally be a headcount.

You can use the Card List from MYOB accounting software such as AccountRight Live – this has sophisticated filtering and searching capabilities for employees.

If you want to keep this list handy for your own records, print out a copy and file it away for safe keeping.

Flag your calendar for 1 April. That’s the date you need a snapshot of how many employees you have.

Once you know that number, you’ll know when your mandatory STP reporting date will be. The software is there to help you jump in early and take advantage of the peace of mind that STP reporting will enable.

Payroll software from $10/month