Single Touch Payroll Phase 2 Deferral

The ATO has just announced a deferral for the commencement of Single Touch Payroll Phase 2.

Employers who were previously required to begin Phase 2 by 1 January 2022, now have until 1 March 2022 to meet their updated reporting obligations.

The rollout of STP Phase 2 will be largely driven by the payroll and accounting software you use. Please check in with your software provider to ensure you will be meeting your new obligations by the required date.

Benefits of STP Phase 2 for employers include:

  • You will no longer have to send employees’ TFN declarations to the ATO (though you will have to keep them with employee records)
  • If you’re using a concessional reporting option, such as for closely held payees or for inbound assignees, you’ll be able to tell us through reporting income types
  • You won’t need to provide Lump Sum E letters to your employees
  • If you change software or an employee’s payroll ID, you can tell the ATO in your STP report which will help fix issues with duplicate income statements
  • You may no longer need to provide separation certificates when your employees leave as the date and reason will be in your STP report

Benefits of STP Phase 2 for employees include:

  • It will be easier for employees at tax time, as the ATO will have better visibility of the types of income they’ve received and where it should be pre-filled on their individual income tax return
  • Over time, the new information reported will allow the ATO to tell employees if they’ve provided an employer with incorrect information that may lead to them getting a tax bill (e.g. where an employee hasn’t notified you that they have a Study and Training Support Loan)
  • The ATO will also share data with Services Australia to streamline their interactions with customers and ensure they are being paid correctly

Please note that there won’t be penalties for genuine mistakes for the first year of Phase 2 reporting until 31 December 2022.

Please get in touch if we can help explain this, or help you get set up for STP Phase 2.

Changes to Casual Employment

By 27 September 2021, employers (other than small business employers with fewer than 15 employees) need to assess whether any existing casual employees (employed before 27 March 2021), should be offered the opportunity to convert to permanent employment.

Employers need to:

  • make a written offer to convert their casual employees to permanent employment (this must be done within 21 days after making the assessment), or
  • write to employees explaining why they won’t be made an offer (this needs to be done within 21 days of making the assessment but by no later than 27 September 2021).

To accept an offer to convert, employees need to respond in writing within 21 days after getting the offer. If they don’t respond, employers can assume that they’ve declined the offer.

Small business employers (defined as a business with fewer than 15 employees) do not have to offer casual conversion to casual employees.

However, casuals may make a request to their small business employer if they meet the below requirements:

  • they have been employed for at least twelve months,
  • they have worked a regular pattern of hours in the last six months on an ongoing basis,
  • their regular hours could continue as a permanent employee without significant changes,
  • they haven’t refused an offer to become a permanent employee in the last six months,
  • the employer has not informed the employee that they won’t be offering casual conversion on reasonable grounds, and
  • the employer has not already refused a request based on reasonable grounds in the last six months.

Click here to download and read the full Casual Employment Information Statement. This document must also now be given to all new casual employees.

You can find further information about these changes at the Fair Work website, especially this page about becoming a permanent employee.

JobSaver Reporting Changes

You might have received a slightly panic-inducing email on Friday from Services NSW, informing you that you would have to prove your decline in turnover fortnightly to continue receiving JobSaver payments. We are here to tell you to not add this particular stress to your plate!

This change was made without consultation, resulting in backlash from accountants and other business professionals. Services NSW have therefore announced a grace period, meaning that this is not required for the fortnight beginning 13 September 2021. In the next few weeks, professional accounting bodies will be meeting with the NSW government to discuss workarounds or alternatives to this new fortnightly retesting.

We will keep you updated as we learn more about the changes . Be assured that the professional accounting bodies have our backs (and yours too)!

Also, if you have not yet applied, but think you might be eligible for the NSW 2021 COVID-19 Business Grant (check eligibility here), please note that the application deadline has now been extended to 1 October 2021.

COVID-19 Grants Due Date Reminder

Thank you so much for your enthusiastic (and entertaining) replies to last week’s trivia questions. We hope you enjoyed them even half as much as we did!

You might not know about the Small Business Fees and Charges Rebate. Eligible businesses or not-for-profits only need to apply for the rebate once, but can submit multiple claims until the full value of $1,500 is reached. 

Funds from this rebate can be used to offset the costs of eligible NSW and local government fees and charges due and paid from 1 March 2021. These include, but are not limited to:

  • vehicle registration (business use fee)
  • council rates
  • issue or renewal of a driver licence
  • food authority licences
  • liquor licences
  • tradesperson licences
  • event fees
  • outdoor seating fees

You might be eligible for this rebate if you:

  • have total Australian wages below the NSW Government 2020-21 payroll tax threshold of $1.2 million
  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN) registered in NSW and/or have business premises physically located and operating in NSW.

This rebate will be available until 30 June 2022Check the full eligibility criteria here.

If you are eligible for the NSW 2021 COVID-19 Business Grant (check eligibility here), please note that you must lodge your application before 13 September 2021.

JobSaver Payment grants have an application deadline of 18 October 2021Check your eligibility and application requirements here

Please get in touch if you need help with your evidence requirements.

Book Us Bookkeeping Trivia!

We won a prize this week! The competition entry required us to explain in 250 words how we have supported our small business clients during the COVID-19 lockdowns over the past eighteen months. We won this because of you, our lovely clients, so we want to have a bit of fun with this newsletter!

First up, we have two annual subscriptions to mindfulness app Headspace to give away. These are on a first come, first served basis. Please get in touch with Sophie if you think this would be helpful to you!

Secondly, we’re giving away a hamper worth $100 to a randomly selected person who answers the following five questions correctly:

  1. What is Sophie’s other job?
  2. Who writes these newsletters (hint: there is a fourth family member)?
  3. What are our TWO busiest months of the year?
  4. What is the age difference between Graham and Melissa?
  5. Name one accounting software that we work with.

(And definitely feel free to ask us the answers when you’re talking to us!)

Winners will be drawn on Friday, so get in quick!