The ATO is looking at alternative reporting mechanisms to help micro businesses with fewer than 5 employees adjust to STP.


The next STP deadline is 1 July 2019, for employers with 19 or less employees. The legislation, still before the Senate, has yet to be approved, but the ATO has advised that it is best practice to start preparing for the roll out as per the deadline.

John Shepherd, the ATO’s STP lead and Assistant Commissioner told AccountantsDaily “There’s a larger cohort of what we would call micro-employers, less than five, who don’t currently use a payroll product. Our clear message to those is that we won’t force businesses to take up payroll to do STP. We’ll be working with industry to look at some alternate reporting mechanisms,”

The challenge is that to submit correct Single Touch Payroll figures – without full payroll software – will still require a fairly sophisticated interface.

Could we see:

  • Micro businesses being allowed a small delay in submitting STP figures? (Currently STP figures have to be submitted on or before pay day, which is quite an onerous deadline.)
  • The announcement of an official “Small Business Payroll Clearing House” portal ? If so, can ATO design this and get it built and released in less than 9 months?
  • Or will ATO perhaps endorse a choice of low cost of subsidised minimal payroll recording interfaces from Third Party Payroll Software Providers?

(All this on top of the assumption that the Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No. 4) Bill 2018 makes it through the senate and back through the lower house with any amendments.)

We are all waiting with bated breath ….