‘Trepidation’ on STP as backflips, mixed messages continue

‘Trepidation’ on STP as backflips, mixed messages continue

Tax professionals are struggling to prepare for single touch payroll, particularly as the bookkeeping profession waits on clarity from the government and the ATO about implementation. 

A recent Accountants Daily poll showed an overwhelming majority of participants — almost 90 per cent of the 327 votes so far — are not prepared for STP. You can cast your vote here.

Executive director of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, Matthew Addison, said that in short, businesses aren’t able to “get ready” at this time.

“It is not until the ATO have finalised both technical and business process design with the software companies and the intermediaries involved, that a business can comprehensively commence a transition into STP process. This includes technical issues e.g. how the employer and the ATO will interchange the data securely,” he said.

Further, research from the Australian Bookkeepers Network (ABN) indicates that many bookkeepers are hesitant because this is an initiative they are not entirely familiar with yet.

“There is a fair amount of trepidation across the bookkeeping community about STP. This is completely understandable given that STP directly impacts the provision of payroll services, something which is core business for nearly every bookkeeper,” said the ABN’s Darren Hagarty.

“Like any new government initiative, some of the apprehension simply stems from not being fully across it and our research shows that for a lot of bookkeepers, they are counting on their favoured software house to do the heavy lifting for them,” he said.

However, bookkeepers are also struggling with the uncertainty of the scope of STP, which has still not been made entirely clear by the government. 

"We’ve seen a backflip on who’s in and who’s out following the announcement that employers with 19 or fewer employees will also be caught from 1 July 2019," said Mr Hagarty. 

“This has left some bookkeepers wondering whether there will also be a backflip on the decision to not require real-time payment to go hand-in-hand with real-time reporting. If that were to become a reality, it would carry with it major cash flow challenges for their clients," he said. 

‘Trepidation’ on STP as backflips, mixed messages continue
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