Speaking on an ATO webcast, assistant commissioner John Shepherd said that he often gets asked whether the Tax Office will allow STP reporting to be submitted through the tax agent portal.
“I do like to remind people why we are doing Single Touch Payroll — it is about reporting through natural business processes, which are your payroll process and system, where you use a system to do that,” Mr Shepherd said.
“A hot topic has been, will we support submission of reports through the portals or the online services, and the answer is no; not through there and not through the clearing house. You will have to have an STP-enabled solution.”
While reporting will not be able to be submitted through the online services, practitioners will soon have greater visibility over their client’s real-time super payments.
“Where this marries up with information we are gathering from super funds, they can see what super funds they have got, what is the balance and how much has been deposited. It is the start of a change where you will have visibility for your clients throughout the year of what’s coming in and what’s gone into the super funds,” ATO assistant commissioner John Watson said.
“There will be greater visibility for agents to look at that, and where appropriate, depending on what advice you can give to your clients, that visibility around superannuation in particular with a lot of the super rules, it gives opportunities to be able to answer questions and give advice to clients throughout the year, as well as seeing whether they are getting their super guarantee entitlements on the way through.”
The ATO recently released a detailed register of STP products for micro businesses, with several options currently available.
Mr Shepherd said that, while it would not be recommending a specific product for practitioners to choose, it will be working to better categorise the available products for practitioners to evaluate which product was suited for their client.
“We are looking at whether we can categorise that better into the payroll options versus the portals and the apps to make it clearer,” Mr Shepherd said.
“There are lots of industry people recommending different products, but it’s hard for us to recommend an individual product.
“But we are looking to build not just the categorisation but some help products that might help people filter and go through the register and choose suitable options for certain situations.”
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.