STP will roll out for employers with 20 or more employees on 1 July 2018, while employers with 19 or less employees will have to start reporting on 1 July 2019.
The ATO recently released two forms to help professionals and businesses better understand their obligations, namely the STP factsheet, and the STP ‘get ready checklist’.
Speaking at the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers National Conference in Sydney, executive director Matthew Addison said these resources would give bookkeepers the impetus to speak to their clients.
“Businesses are primarily in denial, they don't know that STP is coming and they don't think it's an issue. These government documents give you the ability to have the conversation,” said Mr Addison.
“I'm encouraging [bookkeepers] to be the expert. I don’t want to see STP as the excuse that an accountant uses to say you don't need your bookkeeper anymore; you need the accounting firm to do the STP.
“We need to be the experts; we're the ones in there running now.”
The rollout of STP has come under fire in recent weeks, with the ATO most recently admitting that only five of around 140 software providers registered to provide STP are ready to go.
“The date is set for STP for large employers, and it’s 1 July 2018. That won’t shift, that is the date they need to start reporting by,” STP program lead at the Australian Tax Office (ATO), John Shepherd, told Accountants Daily.
“In other words, there won’t be blanket extensions. It’ll be done on a case-by-case basis,” Mr Shepherd said.
DSPs have bemoaned a lack of ATO guidance about the specifications necessary to create an STP product. Major providers, such as MYOB, have applied for or are mulling deferred start dates.
Mr Addison believes that while it is important to be aware of the developing situation with the software providers, bookkeepers should get up to speed with STP information and start lodging immediately once the software becomes available.