Small employers (19 or fewer employees) are currently exempt from reporting ‘closely held’ payees through Single Touch Payroll (‘STP’). A quarterly STP reporting option also applies to micro employers (four or fewer employees). Both of these concessions for small and micro employers will end on 30 June 2021.
The STP reporting changes that apply for these employers from 1 July 2021 are outlined below.
Closely held payees (small employers)
From 1 July 2021, small employers must report payments made to closely held payees through STP using any of the options below. Other employees must continue to be reported by each pay day.
A ‘closely held payee’ is an individual who is directly related to the entity from which they receive payments. For example, this could include family members of a family business, directors or shareholders of a company and beneficiaries of a trust.
Payments to such payees can be reported via STP (from 1 July 2021) using any of the following options:
- Report actual payments on or before the date of payment.
- Report actual payments quarterly on or before the due date for the employer’s quarterly activity statements.
- Report a reasonable estimate quarterly on or before the due date for the employer’s quarterly activity statements. Penalties may apply for those that under-estimate amounts reported for closely held payees.
Small employers with only closely held payees have up until the due date of the payee’s tax return to make a finalisation declaration. Employers will need to speak with these payees about when their individual income tax return is due.
From 1 July 2021, the quarterly reporting concession will only be considered for eligible micro employers experiencing ‘exceptional circumstances’.
Common examples of when the ATO would generally consider it to be fair and reasonable to grant a deferral due to exceptional or unforeseen circumstances include natural disasters, other disasters or events, serious illness or death.
Further, ‘exceptional circumstances’ for access to the STP quarterly reporting concession from 1 July 2021 may include where a micro employer has:
- seasonal or intermittent workers; or
- no or unreliable internet connection.
The ATO says it will consider any other unique circumstances on a case-by-case basis.
It should be noted that registered agents must apply for this concession and lodge STP reports, quarterly, on behalf of their eligible micro employer clients.
The STP reports are due the same day as the employer’s quarterly activity statements. If an employer prefers to report monthly, the STP reports must be lodged on or before the 21st day of the following month and finalisation declarations will need to be submitted by 14 July each year.