Implementing Single Touch Payroll as at March 2018

Implementing Single Touch Payroll as at March 2018

Single Touch Payroll


How Do I Start?

  • It is all payroll software based
  • There is no (current) portal lodgement ability
  • There is no “registration” process, just start lodging via accounting software

When Do I Start?

It depends

  • Companies with over 20 employees need to know what they are doing before 1 July 2018 and take a head count of all employees as at 1 April 2018
  • Others by 1 July 2019


  • Your software may advise you that they have been granted a deferral
  • You need their “deferral” information to provide it to the ATO if the ATO ask, then you don’t need to do anything until the software is ready
  • If you need a longer deferral you will need to lodge your own deferral application – Not available today

Exemptions exist for very limited cases

Can I Do Anything Before the Software is Ready?

Ensure all the employee details in the software are complete

  • Full names and addresses
  • Date of birth
  • TFN

Review how payroll is set up to ensure your system captures the following for each employee for each pay run;

  • Gross Salary & Wages
  • Allowances (Single Touch Payroll allows reporting of each type of allowance)
  • Deductions (Single Touch Payroll allows the reporting of each type of deduction)
  • PAYG Tax withheld

The amount of Superannuation accrued

  • Could be just the Super Guarantee component, or
  • Could be all the Super accrued as a result of the pay run
What Do I Do When I Start?

You must follow any transition steps that your software requires in order for you to ensure your existing payroll system will provide the right data in the right fields when the information is being submitted to the ATO.

  • Mapping of payroll fields into Single Touch Payroll fields
  • User authority – setup the system so that only the authorised persons are able to make the lodgement
  • Agents are to be identified in the system

You will need internet connection at the time of submission

Note you may start at any time during the year

  • You may start earlier than required, subject to your software
  • Recommend that you do an “Update” for all employees that have been paid within the financial year so far, so that the ATO has information for everybody. Note: a “pay event” or an “update” provides employee Year to Date figures.
Each Payday

Run your normal business process for the pay

Your software should

  • Send the Single Touch Payroll information as part of the pay process, or
  • Create the Single Touch Payroll file to be sent, or
  • Allow you to obtain a report from the system for alternate lodgement

Ensure the information is being sent (we expect you should simply send each time you do a pay run) your software should provide a submission date and time stamp as well as recording a receipt number from the ATO.

BAS Time

Eventually the ATO may be providing W1 and W2 as prefill into the BAS, both monthly and quarterly. We are not there yet.

Payment Summary Time

Same end of year checking and reconciliation process, as if you were doing payment summaries

When correct

  • Using your accounting software, you will send a “Final” set of data to the ATO for each employee. (This replaces lodging the PSAR/empdupe file and Payment summaries)

Check that every employee paid during the year has been set to “Final” and that message sent to the ATO.

“Final” indicator to be provided by 14th August, 2018 where applicable for the 2017/18 year (then 31st July, 2019 for the 2018/19 year and 14th August, 2020 for the 2019/20 year). If the employer is in Single Touch Payroll, then each employee that has been reported to the ATO via Single Touch Payroll is not entitled to a payment summary from the employer. They must look on or speak to their accountant. If the employee cannot access etc., the law allows them to be directed to the ATO to request a payment summary be issued by the ATO. Reality says employers will make this easy and provide a pay report for the end of the year during the transition.

Correcting a Pay

The employers’ payroll system is the source of truth

Ensure you meet your Fair Work requirements for payslips and employee obligations

Correct the pay in the pay system then either

  • Send an “update” event to the ATO that will update the ATO data for that employee, or
  • Wait until next pay run for that employee (as it will then provide the ATO with the corrected YTD values)
Correcting a Payment Summary / End of Year “Final” Information
  • Fix the information in the employers’ source of truth (payroll system)
  • Send an “Update” to the ATO with the “Final” indicator. The ATO will use the latest set of data with the “Final” indicator

Any changes the ATO instigates will be advised as soon as we become aware.

Want to know more?

Check out the Single Touch Payroll video from ATO or visit