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‘No need to buy payroll software’: ATO fronts STP confusion

The Tax Office has confirmed that micro businesses will not be required to purchase payroll software to be compliant with the proposed single touch payroll  regime, with apps and internet banking alternatives being explored.

Speaking on the ATO’s webcast yesterday, Assistant Commissioner and STP lead, John Shepherd confirmed that micro businesses – those with one to four employees – will be provided with different options to be STP compliant.


“You won’t need to buy payroll software, that’s why we’re looking for those alternate solutions – some of which might be an app, something that’s fit for purpose to get the STP information in but is easy to use, doesn’t take much time and doesn’t cost that business money to do so,” said Mr Shepherd.


“We’ve spoken to some different banks and the possibilities around as people pay staff through internet banking being able to submit the single touch pay run information at the same time and we expect that to be part of the list of options that come forward over the next 12 months.

“There are obviously lots of other benefits from using payroll software but we’re not saying for STP that you need to go out and buy a product to do STP.”

Earlier this month, the ATO began seeking expressions of interest from digital services providers to develop Single Touch Payroll software for the micro employer market, looking at a low or no-cost solution, software that has a simple user experience and a solution that will enable STP reporting within no more than 5 minutes.

The Tax Office has now received over 20 expressions of interest, with a plan to publish a public register of ‘tailored micro solutions’ by 10 November 2018 in a bid to spread awareness to employers.

by Jotham Lian