With the Single Touch Payroll regime now over a month old for employers with 19 or fewer employees, ATO assistant commissioner Jason Lucchese has shed light on some of the common mistakes he continues to see with the initial set-up of STP.
The first involves authorisations to allow the registered tax or BAS agents to act on behalf of the client for STP lodgement.
“One of the most common mistakes we’re seeing is that some employers and tax professionals don’t have internal authorisations in place before they commence or commence reporting,” Mr Lucchese told Accountants Daily.
“That’s where the person who will be sending the STP report may not be the business owner or the public officer, and they need to make sure they’ve made appropriate delegations or they’ve put appropriate delegation.
“For example, the payroll manager, they may need to be added as an authorised contact if they’re interacting with the ATO about STP matters.
“Similarly, if you are a registered tax or BAS agent, to lodge STP reports on a client’s behalf, they obviously must authorise that agent and they’ll need to make sure that they are linked to their business in ATO systems as part of that initial set-up.”
The other most common mistake involves connecting to the ATO using a software service ID (SSID).
Mr Lucchese noted that STP reports will not be received unless the correct SSID is provided — usually done by calling the ATO or through a one-off notification through access manager.
“For tax agents, with single clients or themselves, they can phone us to provide that SSID or they can also complete a one-off notification through access manager as well,” he said.
“For agents that have multiple clients, they can also do that through a bulk request form through the tax or BAS agent portals through the ATO website.”
These mistakes are still leading to a 10 per cent failure rate on first submission, an early learning first raised in June when about 65,000 small business employers were reporting through STP.
That number has now jumped to over 300,000 out of the total 750,000 small business population, with just over a month out before the 30 September transition deadline.
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.