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Single Touch Payroll: Learn About STP And How It Works

The Australian government came up with the idea of STP to save employees from the necessity of reporting in distinct intervals or at the end of the year.

Moreover, it also simplifies the procedure of hiring new people by providing a digital channel. The Australian government launched single-touch payroll to make the tax filing process easier for employees in Australia. Many people who don’t have any idea how these all work can simply go to the ATO, register their forms and submit their tax records. The government has made STP mandatory software in some states for paying taxes.

What is Single-Touch Payroll, and How Does it Work?

Single touch payroll is established by the Australian government – to help employees from the process. It transfers information to the Australian tax office(ATO). Every employee should be associated and familiar with STP so that he can report his taxes to the ATO every time they are paid through STP.

What is single-touch payroll, and how does it work

STP applies to follow:

  1. Monthly salaries and wages
  2. Director’s remuneration
  3. Return to work payment
  4. Termination payments
  5. Unused leave paid
  6. Parental leave
  7. Seasonal labor mobility program payment to the employee

Non-mandatory details that can be sent to ATO under the STP:

  1. Superannuation contributions made by an employer if reportable.
  2. Reportable fringe benefits.
  3. Payment done through payroll should be reported via STP.

How Does it Work?

STP applies to where regular payment is done to the employees for their work. Salary, wages, or superannuation all come under the STP and should be reported to the ATO till the period the employee is working, and then also the termination payment to the employee should be reported to ATO too.

  1. STP can be used directly by the employer using STP software that offers STP- enabled products, and then the information will be directly sent to the ATO.
  2. Reporting to the ATP can also be done by using a third party as your service provider so that they can do the work on your behalf.
  3. If you are not using digital accounting services, then you can ask ATO for more time so that you can start after your preferred date whenever you are ready.
  4. Ask for an exemption if you are not able to report your taxes. For example, if you live in an area with no internet or your pay is less than 10$ / month.

STP is most useful at the time of hiring. All the data that is collected after reporting can be used in future calculations regarding employee wages or the collection of taxes. The information included name, identity number, marital status, or basic individual details.

What Information is Included in the Single-Touch Payroll?

Single touch payroll is established for the employees with salaries, wages, PAYG, and super information to the ATO. Employees should collect information about the STP and start using it to report their taxes. Every employee should use the payroll and report every time they get paid.

Super annunciations and exemptions are also included that need to be reported under STP. This is for employees saving them the heavy burdens of reporting taxes. Employees need to be registered through STP and share the information, like their name, dob, security number, company information, personal details, and account information.

Types of Payroll Systems

You need to look into the matter of salaries and taxes for proper management of employees of your company. Smooth digitalization works the best. Using payroll for your employee’s wages makes your work easier to handle.

Other than how much you paid to the employee. There is a whole set of systems on a payroll that you need to understand as a businessman.

Types of payroll systemsThere are four types of payroll systems:

  • Internally managed payroll system

Internally payroll management systems work best for small companies which have fewer employees, and their data is easy to maintain. Employees from the company itself can supervise the payroll for the company. They can use simple payroll software and update regularly. Calculation of taxes and deductions is easy. The only requirement for using payroll is basic knowledge of the management of payroll records and various payment laws.

  • Payroll system managed by professionals

A group of companies hires payroll specialists to do their work related to payrolls, like bookkeepers and certified public accountants. They will manage your payroll records. You can hire them from a payroll management company on a permanent or contractual basis. 

They do the work using payroll software and complete it on their learning and efficiency.

  • Payroll managed by software

This may be not in trend yet, but seeing the development of digitization it will soon come to better use. These payroll records are maintained using software like zero payroll software, MYOB payroll software, and QuickBooks payroll software. They automatically update the changes according to the company’s information. The best thing about this software is it can be updated from anywhere and anytime. It decreases the inconsistency that comes with offline management because it automatically updates the data.

  • Payroll system agency

Another method for the management of payroll is hiring a responsible agency to handle your payroll. They will offer a great level of efficiency to the payroll. The agency will provide you with expertise in the respective field, and they will also manage the data of deposits and deductions for you.

How To Set Up Payroll

It doesn’t matter how small or big a business you run, setting up the payroll is the same for all. You need to get the software and provide the information about you and your company. Choose the best-suited plan for you and open a bank account linked to payroll.

There are a few steps you need to take for setting up payroll for the first time:

Step 1: Apply for an EIN

This is the same as your security identification number as a person, but this is for employers so it is an employer identification number(EIN). Getting an EIN is free, and it is permanent; you can’t cancel it. You can get it online or via government offices by filling out a form. You will use your EIN to report taxes or other info to government agencies.

Step 2: Get a local or state business ID

Rules are advised to follow everywhere, and that is why some of the local or state governments can ask you to have a separate business id. Some may proceed with EIN, but some may ask you to have an ID related to your business, and they will provide you with a different number for reporting to agencies.

Step 3: Collecting the team’s info

After all the registration for the company, you need to gather the information about your employees. Basic information like full name, employment start or termination date, date of birth, and current address.accounts and compensation details. Then after that, there will be some form that needs to be filled out by an employee upon joining.

Form 1-9 verification and business authorization of an employee
Form W-4 includes details about employee income tax details according to wages and personal details.

In most states, there are taxes for employment like state withholding taxes and federal taxes. Employees need to give their details to the company.

Step 4: Pay periods

You need to come up with a payroll schedule for the employee wages like weekly, biweekly, semi-monthly, and monthly payments. They are decided by the employee’s work position or duration of their time.

Step 5: Workers Insurance

State governments provide compensation like medical care, rehabilitation, and a portion of lost income due to any reason. Worker insurance applies to the family if the employee dies during working hours. Companies need to apply for insurance either from the public or private sectors even for a single employee.

Step 6: Offer benefits

Benefits like life insurance, medical; insurance, and retirement benefits can attract workers to work with you. Those benefits can be collected on a pre or post-tax basis that depends on the employee’s needs to save money for the insurance after they get paid or as an early deduction before they get their pay.

Step 7: Set up a payroll account

To Keep more accurate payroll records, companies create a separate account for their work’s payroll Transactions. All you need to do is open a separate bank account and use it only for payroll transactions.
After completion of all the steps, an employee should provide their address so that after all the verification the related documents will be sent home.

What is Pay-as-you-go

When your investment part or profit amount reaches a level you need to pay into taxes? Using a PAYG method will help you lessen your payment burden and also offer you to pay your taxes in instalments. ATO offers many schemes to enable employees to pay their taxes easily, and one of these is PAYG.

This method is of two types PAYG:-

PAYGI(Instalment): prepayment method for the business and individuals tax obligation
PAYGW”(withholding): is a pre-payment method made on behalf of your employees.

What is Payroll Processing?

Payroll processing is net pay after all the deductions and depositions. That an employee gets as his wage. All the necessary depositions – like taxes and insurance, are done during payroll processing. This is all done by the payroll professional to keep the mistake at the least.

You are to follow a few steps during payroll processing

  • Collect employer identification number

Every employer holds an individual identity. With that, they report taxes and claims.

  • Information related to taxes

Tax information should be collected for the deposition and should be done on time and according to individual preferences.

  • Review employee schedule

When processing payroll needs to keep a work schedule in mind to decide his wage according to the working hours.

  • Calculate overtime

Extra hours should be added to the payroll to keep employee wages updated. Payroll software will calculate the total pay of the employee.

  • Calculate gross pay

Gross pay is payment received by the employee without any tax deductions.

  • Accomplish the required deductions

Every employee has deductions according to their insurance taxes. Make sure to calculate that for the worker, which will be needed for the payroll records.

  • Calculator the net pay

Net pay is after the removal of taxes from the gross pay.

  • Payment delivery

After all the calculations, employees are paid through their preferred payment option.

  • Payroll Checklist

ChecklistThere are some steps to make sure that your payroll process is done:

  1. Complete periodic payroll and then start a new month’s payroll to make sure every data is well collected and there are no errors.
  2. Complete and check new employee addition details like personal details, information on tax, ENI, and bank details.
  3. After all the details verification examination for the recent changes. That should be added by the employee in their profiles. Check for updates related to banks, addresses, and wages.
  4. Updating deductions and depositions according to the policies of the employees.
  5. Other than the salaries, if an employee is paid for things like overtime, incentives are needed to be updated on the payroll. Also, leaves are taken by the employee, and then calculate the wage according to the defined policies.
  6. Collect proof for TDS, like receipt of insurance and other investment done by the individual.
  7. Collect proof for reimbursements like proof of LT, receipt of rental accommodation, and invoices.
  8. Review monthly tax and insurance that have been submitted.
  9. Confirm IT declaration.
  10. Incorporate IT declaration into the payroll and submit it to the records.
  11. Calculate monthly salary.
  12. Distribute the hard copy of payslips or via email as income proof.

Also read: Internal vs Outsourced Payroll


There is no suspicion that single-touch payroll will transform the payroll software landscape in Australia. Payroll provides better software editions to maintain the pay system of the employee.  Any company can provide payroll services and set the data accordingly. Paying your taxes can be tricky if you miss a detail or a day, but payroll records keep checking on these details and automatically update the information.

For more accuracy, you can hire professionals to do your job. Payroll involves one-one-time registration then you are done for years. ATO provides many services to the employer in terms of their tax paying. The payroll system in Australia is complicated. We anticipated that as more firms are using better solutions, the number of payroll incidents that appear in our news feeds will reduce.

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