Why your business will thank you for getting onboard with technology
The ATO is pushing ahead with paperless delivery of documents and real time reporting.
- Step 1 – Transition your accounting software to the Cloud.
- Step 2 – Establish a business portal with the ATO.
- Step 3 – Make sure the business is using single touch payroll (STP) – it’s about to become mandatory for all businesses.
Download a printable version
You can download the information detailed on this page as a printable PDF for future reference. Click here to access the PDF document.
Cloud Accounting Software – Time to Get On Board
There are many options when it comes to cloud accounting. In Australia, the main players are Xero and MYOB online – however, which one you choose will depend on you and your business.
What’s great about cloud accounting is the add-ons and apps available to assist you with running your business. It not only allows you to store invoices, but teaches you to only input the data once – no more losing or doubling up documents – they can all be filed within the online software.
Side note: If you are currently running your business off your notebook, it may be time to invest in a second computer screen. As we move more and more into a paperless work environment, a second screen will increase efficiency as you can simply “drag and drop” a document when you have two or more screens.
ATO Business Portal
The ATO are now starting to issue BAS statements electronically via the Business Portal. The most efficient way to lodge your BAS and deal with the ATO moving forward is to set up a ATO Business Portal. To get started, please search for the following links:
Single Touch Payroll (STP) is mandatory from July 1, 2021 – act now!
For all businesses not already using STP, it will be mandatory to setup and use from July 1, 2021. The ATO has removed the exceptions related to Small Employers and Closely Held Payees (essentially related parties such as family members) from the same deadline.
STP will now be required for all businesses, even where all the employees are family members or where you might be the only employee (for example, a Health Practitioner operating through a Medical Company).
Single Touch Payroll replaces the old Group Certificate/PAYG Payment Summary system and reports live (each pay run) the employees’ Gross Pay, PAYG Withholding and other information to the ATO.
Importantly, for closely held payees – from July 1, 2021, amounts paid can be reported through STP in any of the following ways:
- Report actual payments on or before the date of payment – This would typically be done using a computerised accounting system (like Xero) to process your payroll information in the same way as you would for any arms-length employees.
- Report actual payments quarterly – report your actual payments to closely held payees quarterly. Each quarter, when your activity statement is due, report all payments made in that quarter via STP enabled Software.
- Report a reasonable estimate quarterly – report amounts equal to or greater than a percentage of gross payments and tax withheld from the latest year, across each quarter (see ATO Examples).
Essentially, the amounts you disclose on the BAS are not sufficient – they must now be reported via STP-enabled Payroll Software.
More general information on Single Touch Payroll (STP) can be found by clicking here.
In summary, it is time to get organised. Your business will thank you.
Disclaimer: This article contains general information only. Regrettably, no responsibility can be accepted for errors, omissions or possible misleading statements or for any action taken as a result of any material in this guide. It is not designed to be a substitute for professional advice, as such a brief guide cannot hope to cover all circumstances and conditions applying to the law as it relates to these items.