STP Grace Period Deadline
If you are a small business the 30th September is a date you may want to add to your calendar. This date marks the end of the STP grace period for small businesses (those with 5-20 employees) to be compliant with the latest regulatory ATO reporting requirements.
From the 1st July 2019 all small businesses who have between 5 and 19 employees (incl. local associations, Not-For-Profits and small charities) were required to begin reporting their payroll using Single Touch Payroll (STP). However, the ATO granted a 3 month STP grace period for these businesses to make the switch to an “STP compliant” software program.
What You Need To Do
Enabling STP reporting for your business is not necessarily a difficult process.
If you are already using cloud based software that is STP compliant the process is as simple as navigating through the steps in the “STP setup” section of your software.
If you are using older, desktop versions of accounting software such as MYOB Account Right Premiere, or programs such as Google Docs spreadsheets and Microsoft Excel, or other general ledger software, you will need to either:
- Upgrade your accounting software to a cloud based STP compliant program or
- Use an accountant to process your STP reports.
Either way, this needs to be done before the end of the grace period – 30th September.
Double Whammy for Some Small Businesses
For those businesses still using desktop based MYOB software, the 30th September also represents the end of all software updates, product support and new features.
Although these versions of MYOB will still work after the 30th September, conflicts with new ATO reporting methods, such as STP, could mean the end of an era for desktop software in small businesses.
Fortunately the upgrade to a cloud based accounting program can be completed quickly and is not necessarily too costly. The main factors you need to consider when making the transition are:
- The person who is listed with ASIC, Department of Fair Trading, or your regulatory body (usually the owner or the director of the business) is the person liaising with the ATO
- Once this person has been verified with the ATO they can apply for an AUSkey. The AUSkey is a secure login that identifies you when using online government services (such as the ATO) on behalf of a business.
- Before you convert your software, download a backup of your general ledger. Save this ledger locally and on an external drive in a secure location. This way, you have an empirical copy of your data should you need it (or worse, something goes awry!).
Staying On Top
Running your small business and staying on top of government compliance reporting changes can be tricky. Although the government has attempted to make these conversions as simple as possible, it is important to “get it right”. For the efficiency of your business if you think you may need any help with setting up these changes, before the 30th September grace period deadline, Bishop Collins is ready to help. Please use the form below to contact us in regards to any questions this article may have raised for you or if you would like to speak with one of our accountants.