The ATO has reminded employers that legislation has been passed to extend Single Touch Payroll (STP) to include all employers from 1 July 2019.

This will be a gradual start, and not all employers will start reporting at the same time.

Employers with 5 to 19 employees (small employers)

Small employers can determine when they need to start reporting from one of the following options.

Start Reporting early–If an employer uses payroll software which offers STP, they can update their product and start reporting any time. The ATO recommends such employers talk to their software provider, or visit their website, to find out what needs to be done. The ATO also has a checklist with the steps employers need to take to connect their software to the ATO.

Start reporting any time from 1 July to 30 September 2019.

Apply for more time to get ready– If an employer will not be ready to start reporting by 30 September 2019, they can apply for a deferred starting date.

Ask the ATO for an exemption–Employers that live in an area with intermittent or no internet connection can use the ATO’s online tool to apply for an exemption.

Employers with 1 to 4 employees (micro employers)

Employers with four or less employees (referred to as ‘ micro employees’) that do not currently use payroll software will be able to use other ways to report STP information.

The ATO has asked software developers to build no-cost and low-cost STP solutions for micro employers- including simple payroll software, mobile phone apps and portals.

The ATO has published a list of companies offering, or intending to offer these solutions.

Micro employers will also have the option for their registered tax or BAS agent to reporting their STP information quarterly, rather than each time they run payroll ( this option will be available until 30 June 2021).

Employers with closely held payees.

A ‘ closely held payee’ means the payee is directly related to the entity from which they receive payments, for example:

Family member of a family-owned business;

Directors or shareholders of a company; or

Trustees or beneficiaries of a trust.

Employers may not always pay closely held payees a regular salary or wage, and instead may draw on income from the business throughout the year.

As STP information is reported each time payroll is run, employers would not be able to report their closely held payees this way, but there are flexible reporting options available to employers with closely held payees.

Employers with 19 or less employees do not need to report closely held payees in 2019/20

Employers will be exempt from reporting closely held payees during the 2020 income year.


The Tax Advisers’ Voice, Jun 2019, Edition No.292, NTAA.


This content is intended for general information in summary form on tax and legal matters at the time of first publication and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice.  Please consult your tax, legal and accounting advisors before acting or relying on any content provided.

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