On 1 July last year, the Single Touch Payroll (STP) system was introduced for employers with less than 20 staff. This was to allow employers to report payroll data to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). While a three-month transition period allowed these small businesses to adapt, the STP system is not new; having commenced in 2018 for bigger businesses. Penalties for not using the system were applicable from 1 July 2019 for these larger companies, however, all businesses: big and small, should now note that they must be using the STP system. For small businesses, penalties for non-utilisation of the system will apply from 1 July 2020.

Further, employers were recently granted a 12-month amnesty to meet and keep their superannuation guarantee obligations updated. The government has noted that over 7,000 businesses took advantage of this. While the amnesty period has now lapsed, a Bill was recently put to Parliament seeking to extend the period. Notably, if the extension to the amnesty period is approved, businesses will have further opportunity to get into the ATO’s favour; avoiding potential penalties. Clearly, the STP system and this superannuation guarantee obligation mechanism have substantially added to the ATO’s surveillance of the financial information of businesses, small and big alike.

The measures indicate that the ATO is focused on ensuring businesses meet their superannuation obligations. Therefore, it is vital that you are aware of such obligations and of your employees’ entitlements.


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