'Single Touch Payroll’ on the horizon

Under Single Touch Payroll, employers will be required to electronically report payroll and super information to the ATO when employees are paid, using Standard Business Reporting (SBR) enabled software.

In addition, Single Touch Payroll will streamline tax file number (TFN) declarations and Super Choice forms by providing a digital channel to simplify the process of bringing on new employees.

It may also cut red tape by notifying super funds and government agencies, such as the Department of Human Services (DHS), when an employee ceases employment.

It is intended that Single Touch Payroll will be available from July 2016, with all employers "operating in a Single Touch Payroll environment" by 1 July 2019 (though exemptions may apply in exceptional circumstances).

Note that, to meet their obligations under Single Touch Payroll, employers would be required to use, and if necessary acquire, appropriate payroll software.

The government is yet to make final decisions on the implementation of this proposal, and is currently seeking submissions regarding issues such as transition arrangements and how to minimise implementation and compliance costs.