There might be hope for micro businesses to rely on the Single Touch Payroll quarterly reporting concession on an “enduring basis”, with an industry body currently in discussion with the ATO.
Permanent STP quarterly reporting concession floated to ATO
Speaking to Accountants Daily, Institute of Certified Bookkeepers executive chair Matthew Addison said that there are currently discussions with the ATO to make the STP quarterly reporting concession permanent for micro employers.
Micro employers, those with one to four employees, are currently able to utilise their registered tax or BAS agent to lodge their STP report on their behalf on a quarterly basis up until 30 June 2021.
“We believe that quarterly reporting for the micros needs to be an enduring feature of Single Touch Payroll reporting,” Mr Addison said.
“What is emerging or even becoming evident is a lot of those very small employers they do the right thing, but they really don’t run their payroll through software.
“They are doing quarterly activity statements, so let them do quarterly reporting for their one employee, otherwise they are going to say, ‘I’m not going to put software in to keep employing this person — I’ll sack them and do the job myself’.
“That’s an extreme outcome, but we’re hearing a little bit of it. So we are an advocate of that quarterly reporting regime enduring as an option for the micros that are not computerised.”
Mr Addison said discussions with the Tax Office are ongoing, with several developments in the concessional reporting space demonstrating that the ATO has the “appetite” to adopt new concessionary measures.
“If you look at the last six months, they brought it in for closely held, they brought it in for this two-year transition phase for micro businesses that work through an agent and now they’ve brought it in for a couple of industries,” Mr Addison said.
“So, I believe the ATO is taking a realistic approach that it is a very feasible option for businesses and to achieve the outcomes of Single Touch Payroll.
“[The ATO] is still getting the reporting. They’re still getting the information. It just happens to be quarterly.”
STP is now in force for businesses of all sizes, with 460,000 businesses now reporting, and just over 40,000 covered by a deferral, exemption or concessional reporting arrangement.