In an effort to streamline the payroll reporting process the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has introduced an initiative called ‘Single Touch Payroll’ that will require employers with 20 or more employees to change their reporting practices from 1 July 2018.

The reporting change will see employers with 20+ employees report directly to the ATO with information on payments, PAYG withholding and superannuation information directly from their payroll solutions at the same time employees are paid.

What you need to do, and when:

  • On 1 April 2018 do a head count of your employees (see inclusions and exclusions below)
  • Update your payroll system when the Single Touch Payroll option becomes available for your particular system (the ATO is working with platforms like Xero, MYOB and others to create a simple process)
  • If you have 20 or more employees you are considered a ‘substantial employer’ and you need to start reporting with Single Touch Payroll on 1 July 2018
  • If you have 19 or fewer employees Single Touch Payroll will be optional until 1 July 2019. Subject to legislation being passed, it will be mandatory from 1 July 2019 onwards.
  • Once you are determined to be a substantial employer you need to continue reporting through Single Touch Payroll event if your employee numbers drop below 20.

Who to include in your headcount:

  • Full-time employees
  • Part-time employees
  • Casual employees who are on your payroll on 1 April and worked any time during March
  • Employees based overseas
  • Any employee absent or on leave (paid or unpaid)
  • Seasonal employees (staff who are engaged short term to meet a regular peak workload)

Do NOT include:

  • Any employees who ceased work before 1 April
  • Casual employees who did not work in March
  • Independent contractors
  • Staff provided by a third-party labour hire organisation
  • Company directors
  • Office holders
  • Religious practitioners

If you are part of a company group, the total number of employees employed by all member companies of the wholly-owned group must be included.

Although change can be disruptive, here are some positive things to note:

  • You won’t be penalised in the first 12-month transition period for submitting late reports
  • It’s OK if you make a mistake
  • There is no change to the current PAYG withholding payment due dates
  • Workplace Central can help you!

Source: ATO (

If you are unsure of how these changes will impact your business or if you need help in updating your payroll systems to accommodate the new reporting requirements, talk to the team at Workplace Central about the best way to be compliant in your operations.

For customers of Workplace Central’s Workforce Management or People & Payroll programs, there’s nothing you need to do or change in your work practice because we’re doing it for you. Our comprehensive solutions take care of everything employment from recruitment and occupational compliance to payroll and reporting. Essentially you’ve got everything covered and you’re future-proofed for any changes to legislation or workplace requirements. You can let the employment experts manage your workforce and you can get back to managing your core business.