Single Touch Payroll | ScopeTalk

Single Touch Payroll – Changes to ATO Reporting

Single Touch Payroll

Author: GMO – Mark Bogos


From July 1st, 2018 Single Touch Payroll will become mandatory for all Australian businesses with more than 20 employees.

What is Single Touch Payroll (STP)?

Single Touch Payroll or STP, is a reporting change for Australian employers. This change affects the way in which employers report on employee salaries, wages, allowances, deductions (e.g. workplace giving) and other types of payments, pay as you go (PAYG) withholding and super information to the ATO. This will now happen all at the same time.

How does it affect my business?

As mentioned, from July 1st 2018 onwards, payroll solutions will be required to be STP enabled for organisations with 20 or more employees. Organisations that have 19 or less employees will be required to have STP enabled solutions for July 1st 2019.

On the 1st of April 2018 every employer will be required to determine whether they are a substantial employer (20 or more employees) by undertaking a count of the number of employees on their payroll.

Who is included in the headcount?

You need to include the following employees in your headcount:

  • full-time employees
  • part-time employees
  • casual employees who are on your payroll on 1st April and includes those who worked any time during March
  • employees based overseas
  • any employee absent or on leave (either paid or unpaid)
  • seasonal employees (staff who are engaged short term to meet a regular peak workload, for example, harvest workers).

Do not include:

  • Any employees who ceased work before 1 April
  • Casual employees who did not work in March
  • Independent contractors
  • Staff provided by a third-party labour hire organisation
  • Company directors
  • Office holders
  • Religious practitioners

If you are part of a company group, the total number of employees employed by all member companies of the wholly-owned group must be included.

Why do I need to be STP ready or compliant?

Businesses that fail to implement an STP enabled solution before the above deadlines, respective of their situation, may be liable for an administrative penalty.

What if I don’t have a payroll solution/service?

If your April 1st headcount reveals that you are a substantial employer of 20 or more employees, it will still be necessary to comply with STP obligations for the 1st July, 2018 deadline. This will require you to choose an STP enabled (or soon to be supported) payroll solution for your business.

What is my current payroll solution/service provider doing in regards to STP?

To make sure that your business is compliant with the changes, it is important to be in regular contact with your payroll solution provider. As Government legislation around the requirements of STP reporting is still being finalized, some solution providers are waiting for its completion before building updates.

How can I learn more about STP?

The best source of information for all things regarding Single Touch payroll is the Australian Taxation Office Website. Your payroll provider will also have information relevant to your business, and how they plan to address the forthcoming changes as a result of STP.

Timeline of key dates:


  • April 1st – Headcount of employees
  • July 1st – Mandatory change-over to STP compliant Reporting


  • July 1st – Mandatory change-over to STP compliant Reporting

Getting help

Need help with STP compliance? At Scope Systems, we are already underway with helping a number our clients be ready for STP. Contact us today.

Take the next step.

Get the help you need now. One of our experts will call you to discuss your needs and help start you on the path to greater control.

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