The short answer is if you have 20 or more employees as at 1 April 2018, you must start using STP Reporting from 1 July 2018. If you have 19 or fewer employers, STP Reporting will be optional until 1 July 2019, dependent on legislation being passed in Parliament.
However, you can commence STP Reporting in the current financial year, if you are ready to do so. Even if you are not ready to use STP Reporting, you can still set it up now but can continue with your current processes until 1 July 2018.
There are some things that you must do or have ready before you go live with STP Reporting, and some considerations that may affect your actual STP go live date.
Before going live with STP Reporting, you must:
- have upgraded to WageEasy version 188.8.131.5214 or newer. The STP Setup wizard, STP (PayEvent) Reporting and other changes to support STP Reporting are included in that release
- have received your STP Gateway Credentials, you won't be able to finish the STP Setup wizard without them
Note: STP Gateway Credentials will be issued to customers starting in April 2018
- have completed the STP Setup wizard.
Things to consider that may affect your actual STP go-live date:
General payroll processing
There may be some changes to your current payroll process:
- Even if you do not currently use EFT file to pay your employees, you will be required to create the EFT file in WageEasy in order to generate the PayEvent and be able to complete STP reporting.
Note: It is vital that your company bank details are entered in rder to create an EFT file. Check this information in WageEasy from File > Company Details > Banking > Bank Account.
Commencing STP Reporting in the new financial year
If you are going to wait until the new financial year to start STP Reporting, you may need to plan the best time to switch over to meet the 1 July 2018 commencement date. Pays processed for pay periods with a start date in this financial year and an end date in the next one could be reported in either year, depending on when employees are paid.
STP Reporting is all about the Pay Event, which is the trigger for Sage WageEasy to compile payroll data so it can be sent to the ATO. In WageEasy, the Pay Event is production of the EFT Banking file. The date that you specify that the EFT file is to be processed by the bank corresponds to the Payment Date for STP Reporting. Even if you are paying employees by a non-EFT method, production of the EFT File is still the Pay Event trigger.
If a pay period crosses end of financial year, when you process the EFT Export will determine which financial year that the pay values should be reported in.
For example, you have a weekly pay frequency with a pay period that starts on 27 June and finishes on 3 July.
Scenario 1: You produce the EFT File on 29 June (and it's processed by the bank on same day). Because employees are paid in this financial year, then the values should be reported in this financial year.
Scenario 2: You produce the EFT File on 2 July. Because employees are paid after 30 June, the values belong to the next financial year and must be reported via STP Reporting.
End of year processing
Going live with STP Reporting in the current financial year has implications for your end of financial year processes.
- With STP Reporting, pay, tax and other values that previously were reported to the ATO via the payment summary annual report (EMPDUPE file) are reported in each STP Reporting pay event. Because the ATO receives regularly updated year to date values, employers using STP Reporting are not required to produce and submit EMPDUPE files. This applies if you start STP Reporting at any time in the current year, even if you only submit payroll data via STP Reporting for the last pay period of this year.
- Employers using STP Reporting may not be required to produce physical payment summaries for their employees. Like production of the EMPDUPE file, this applies even if you only report via STP Reporting for the last pay period of the current year. Instead, employees will need to login to their myGov account to view payment and tax details for the year to date.
- There will be some STP Reporting-related tasks you will need to carry out for EOY and we will provide more information about that as year-end approaches.
- You can complete the STP Setup wizard in the current financial year without having any impact on this year's EOY processing. As long as you don't start submitting payroll data via STP Reporting this year, your EOY processes will not change.
If you pay employees in advance of pay period date, you can now change your financial year period end date so that pays with a July PPE date are included in the current financial year.
Ref: File > Company Details > Configuration > Period End.
For example. PPE 08/07/2018 is paid on or before 30/06/2018 needs to be reported in the 2017/18 financial year. Even if you do not currently use EFT file to pay your employees, you will be required to create the EFT file in WageEasy in order to generate the PayEvent and be able to complete STP reporting.
There will be some slight changes to the reporting of employee termination details.
- Creating and processing an employee’s termination pay will not change. If an employee requests their payment summary at time of termination, you may not need to produce a physical copy but you will need to ensure that the employee’s final pay is flagged correctly when the Pay Event is reported to the ATO.
Communicating changes to your employees
You may also need to communicate the changes for STP to your employees and give them time to set up a myGov account linked to ATO online services, so they can see payment and withholding information updated each time they are paid.