STP – Frequently Asked Questions | Colby Business Services
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STP – Frequently Asked Questions

Written by Jenneth Orantia

Jenneth has more than 20 years of experience in media and communications. She provides guidance to small businesses looking to acquire new customers using owned, earned, paid and social channels. She is currently completing a Masters of Marketing degree.

31 August 2019

What is STP?
STP is short for ‘Single Touch Payroll’. It is a new initiative introduced by the government whereby your business’ payroll information (pay, tax withheld and super) is electronically sent to the ATO every time you pay your employees.

Do I need to implement STP?
STP was introduced as a mandatory requirement for companies with 20 or more employees last year. Now, companies with 19 or fewer employees are required to implement it by 30 September 2019, with a few exceptions.

When do I need to implement STP by?
The general deadline for small businesses is 30 September 2019. But there are a few exceptions.

Does STP mean more administrative hassle for me?
Not necessarily. If you are using one of the main accounting platforms already (such as Xero, MYOB, Reckon and Quickbooks), you’ll just need to update it to the latest version to be STP-compliant – it will automatically send payroll information to the ATO whenever you pay your employees.

But if you’re not using software for your bookkeeping, you will need to start using software for your payroll. We can help you set this up.

What if I do all of my bookkeeping in Excel or on a paper ledger?
You can keep doing your bookkeeping manually, but you will need to start using a software solution to process your payroll.

How can I implement STP if I don’t have a computer?
Since STP is transmitted electronically, you will need to have access to a computer in order to use it. You or your tax agent can apply to the ATO for a deferral if you need time to source a computer. But it’s worth noting that many of the no-cost/low-cost STP solutions can be accessed through a smartphone or tablet.

Can I apply for an extension?
If you have extenuating circumstances that prevent you from implementing STP by the deadline, you can apply to the ATO via the Business Portal.

What if I can’t afford to implement STP?
The ATO has been working with software developers to make no-cost and low-cost solutions for micro-businesses with 1-4 employees. A full list can be found here.

Are there any exceptions?
If you have 1-4 employees, you can ask your tax agent to apply for a concession on your behalf by 30 September 2019. This will enable you to report your STP quarterly with your activity statement until 30 June 2021.

If you have ‘closely held payees’ (which includes family members of a family business, directors or shareholders of a company, and beneficiaries of a trust), you can report STP for these employees quarterly until 30 June 2020. You do not need to apply for a concession for this. But you do need to report STP in real-time for other employees of the business.

Can I get someone to report my payroll via STP for me?
Of course. Speak to your tax agent about doing this on your behalf.

Any other questions? Leave them in the comments below, or contact us directly for a free consultation. You can also read our full guide on STP.

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