ATO director Michael Karavas, in an ATO webinar, said that BAS pre-fills for the W1 and W2 labels has been scheduled to start from 1 January 2020.
The date has been selected to give employers time to start reporting under the new single touch payroll regime – due to start 1 July 2019 – and allow the data to “settle down” before being used to pre-fill the BAS.
“Effectively from that point forward if you log into the ATO portal to do your activity statement, the amounts that you have reported through STP will be pre-filled into the W1 and W2 labels, so gross salary and wages and amounts withheld,” said Mr Karavas.
“If you are using PLS software and using the pre-fill from the ATO it will gain that information into the practitioner software or if you are a business using SBR software it will drag that straight into the software.”
Acknowledging that single touch payroll will be a big leap for small businesses, particularly those who do not currently use software or have digital barriers, the ATO has put in place several concessions, including the ability to rely on a registered tax or BAS agent to report quarterly for the first two years, rather than each time payroll is run.
Mr Karavas said agents need to communicate to their clients that the measure is merely transitional and that the end goal will still be real-time reporting.
“This is what we see as a transition for these employers. The end state being real-time reporting for them and all the benefits that come with that, and really to actually tap into the business process of paying your staff not making it a reporting process to the ATO,” said Mr Karavas.