Why Single Touch Payroll (STP) means more Superannuation scrutiny

You’re probably well aware of what Single Touch Payroll is, and how it works by now. In summary, using STP means you will electronically report all employee payroll information to the ATO. The reporting is based on your payroll cycle, so whether you pay on a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly basis will dictate how often you report. STP provides greater efficiency to business owners, and to the ATO. Reporting employee salaries or wages, Pay as You Go withholdings, and superannuation is streamlined. If you’re in need of a quick refresher, check out our earlier article here.

The important thing to know today is that STP has now become mandatory for all businesses that have employees being paid wages. This shift means that the ATO is now able to accurately collect real-time data on wages across Australia, and keep track of superannuation payments at the same time.

As a business owner, it’s crucial for your payroll, superannuation, and other accounting paperwork to be in better shape than ever before. Each time your payroll is completed using STP, the ATO also receives details on how much superannuation should be paid to each of your employees at that point in time. If there are any discrepancies between superannuation payments, expect extra scrutiny from the tax office. In 2021 and beyond, we expect to see the ATO targeting late payments of superannuation, including accrued interest.

In addition, you should be aware that any late superannuation payments will require submission of a Superannuation Guarantee Charge (SGC) form to the ATO – whether the payment was 100 days late, or 1 day late. If a business fails to lodge this form, interest will accrue.

A final note to take into consideration: as the ATO continues to collect more information in real-time, the level of business scrutiny is likely to increase. Late superannuation payments may trigger additional interest and an investigation into previous history on superannuation payments. The end result for a business in breach of superannuation legislation may be an investigation or audit, or long-term interest charged on historically unreported late payments, among other consequences.

How can Halkin Business Partners help?

Make sure you have all your ducks in a row. Halkin Business Partners can help you keep your record-keeping, payroll, and tax practices watertight. Speak to one of our advisers today to see how we can streamline your operations.