Are you ready for Single Touch Payroll?

If you haven't heard about the introduction of Single Touch Payroll (STP) for employers with less than 20 employees, it might be a good idea to keep reading as this new system represents a big challenge for many small businesses.

With an estimated 730,000 employers required to begin electronically reporting their payroll information directly to the ATO from 1 July 2019, lots of small business operators need to get their head around STP, and quickly.

What STP means for small employers

Sometimes called real-time payroll reporting, STP involves sending tax and super information to the ATO directly from your payroll or accounting software each time you pay your employees. STP has been in place for employers with 20 or more employees since 1 July 2018, but is now being extended to smaller employers. It means every time you run your payroll and pay your employees, salary information such as wages, deductions, allowances and super will be forwarded to the ATO.

Although this information will cover your year-to-date payment amounts, when you pay your employees (weekly, fortnightly or monthly) does not need to change. The good news is Pay-As-You-Go withholding activity statements are no longer required.

Employers will also no longer need to provide employees with a payment summary document for payments reported through STP, as the ATO will make this information available to employees through the myGov portal.

Digital payroll makes things easy

If you already pay your employees using a digital solution like MYOB, Xero or QuickBooks, moving to STP reporting should be simple, as most software packages now offer STP reporting.

For employers not using digital payroll packages, the ATO has said it will not force businesses to purchase one, but it will be tricky - and time-consuming - to comply if you remain with a manual system. The regulator encouraging small businesses to recognise the ongoing shift to digital solutions occurring throughout the business world.

Micro-employers (four or fewer) employees) will be permitted by the ATO to comply with STP reporting quarterly for the first few years but will eventually move to reporting each pay cycle.

Hints for getting STP ready

For smaller employers, the key step in preparing for STP is deciding how you will report an STP pay event to the ATO. If you do not currently use a digital payroll solution offering STP reporting, the ATO has compiled a list of low-cost (less than $10 per month) STP software providers suitable for micro-employers.

Alternatively, you can also ask us or a payroll service provider to report to the ATO on your behalf.

STP reports will need to be submitted to the ATO on an approved form and an authorised person needs to declare the information is true and correct. This is similar to the declaration on the current quarterly BAS form.

Before you start reporting through STP, it is essential to review your business's current payroll processes. This means cleaning up any anomalies in the data and checking the accuracy of employee information such as name, address and date of birth.

You should also check you are addressing any employee overpayments and calculating pay entitlements correctly. Super entitlements for your employees should also be checked.

Call soon to avoid the rush

It's important to talk to us early about how you plan to comply with the STP requirements and any changes you need to make to existing business processes. With the new requirements applying from 1 July, it's crucial to start planning for the changes as soon as possible.

Employers also need to ensure they complete a finalisation declaration at the end of each financial year or your STP information will not be tax ready. STP information will be pre-filled into the myTax system for employees who prepare their own tax returns, so employers will need to ensure they complete all their paperwork promptly.

Call us today if you would like to discuss what your business needs to do to get ready for STP, or for assistance in selecting a digital payroll solution.

For more information about STP,
download and print our Information Sheet
This includes further details of:
- deadlines
- reporting requirements
- options for reporting
Plus a bonus Employer Checklist to make sure you're on the right track.







Selling a business? Don't forget about tax

It can take many years and a lot of hard work to build a successful small business. When you finally decide it's time to sell, tax is often the last thing on your mind. Yet it can have a big impact on how much of the sale price you get to keep - and how much goes to the taxman.

The biggest tax issue to consider is capital gains tax (CGT). Although the Government tightened eligibility for its small business capital gains tax (CGT) concessions in 2018, there are still generous discounts available for those who qualify.

Read more…

Make tax time less taxing

Tax time comes around with alarming regularity, so why is it that we tend to wait till the 11th hour to get all our affairs in order?

Good tax planning is about more than simply maximising deductions. It enables you to focus on the big picture so you can arrange your business and personal affairs in the most tax effective way and make the most of our services and tax updates throughout the year. Not only will it reduce stress as June 30 approaches, but you could end up better off as you won't have forgotten anything in the last-minute scramble.

Read more…

Tax Alert: March 2019

With small business votes likely to be a key battleground during the Federal election campaign, the Morrison Government has announced its first tax sweeteners.

Here's a round up of key developments in the world of tax:

Read more…

Car expenses on the ATO's radar

With almost 4 million Australians making work-related car expense claims, the Australian Tax Office has the practice in it's headlights.

Not only are they on the lookout for people wrongly claiming, but they are also armed with enhanced technology to check these claims.

As a result, you need to make sure that if you claim your car expenses, or if your employees use a company car for private use, that you are sticking to the rules, not double dipping and not misrepresenting actual usage.

Read more…

Tax and your website: What can you claim?

Most small businesses and independent contractors have a website these days. If you are planning to launch a new website or refreshing an existing one, it's important to understand the tax implications. As with all things tax, it's not always easy.

The complexity of the technology and associated services that go with running a website can make it tough to determine what you can claim upfront as a tax deduction and what you need to depreciate over time.

Read more…

2018 Year in Review

Investors started 2018 full of hope, with the global economy and financial markets in good shape, but by year's end they were uncertain and a little anxious about what lay ahead. Markets responded with last minute falls across all asset classes.

The issues that weighed heavily at the end of  2018 were the unresolved trade dispute between the US and China, confusion over the final Brexit deal, rising US interest rates, falling oil and commodity prices and the US government shutdown. Australians were also distracted by political instability and falling house prices in Sydney and Melbourne. With so much focus on what may, or may not, lie ahead, it was easy to lose sight of the solid progress we've made.

Read more…

New year - same you but better

We hear the phrase 'New Year, new you' bandied around a lot at this time of year. As if the current you were an apartment on The Block, getting ready for major renovation on January 1st.

The truth is you don't need to be a whole new you every year. 2018 may have been filled with lots of moments you really treasure. And I bet your nearest and dearest thing the current 'you' is just fine the way you are.

However, a life well lived is not a static life - we all need to keep growing and learning and part of this is understanding what we like about ourselves, what gives us joy, and what we're proud of. So, with this in mind, let's look at how this New Year you can be the same you, but better.

Read more…

What to watch as online retail takes off

The retail sector is experiencing a dramatic shake up with massive growth in online shopping indicating a shift in how consumers interact with products, sales and spaces.

Recent figures speak for themselves. Domestic online sales represented more than 50% of 2017 total retail sales growth in Australia as opposed to three years ago when they accounted for less than 10%.i

This rapid growth is staggering in a sector that has otherwise been sluggish of late. But what does it mean for consumers? With Christmas just around the corner, now's the perfect time to look at current trends in online shopping, what to watch out for, and how you can bag a bargain while saving a heap of time in the process.

Read more…

Keep your cash flowing

As we head into the Christmas holiday season you are most likely looking forward to some relaxing times ahead, but one thing that should not be taking a break is your cash flow.

Invariably there will be a blowout in your personal spending over the Christmas period on food, presents and holidays, while the normal household bills keep rolling in.

It's much the same for businesses. It can be all too easy in the busy lead-up to Christmas to let chasing bad debts and invoicing clients take a back seat. But if you don't act now, you may not see any cash until February. Meanwhile your regular bills will still be coming in and wages will also need to be paid.

So what can you do to make the holiday season financially stress free?

Read more…

Copyright Symes Accountants © | Disclaimer | Site Map | Online software for accountants by Wolters Kluwer                Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.