BREAKING NEWS – ATO advise changes its STP lodgement authority requirements

We have heard that a significant pain point for bookkeepers and small business related to STP in the initial stages of the rollout, has been the requirement for agents lodging on behalf of employers to gain written authority to lodge the STP event for each and every lodgement.  This requirement has caused considerable burden for bookkeepers needing to follow up their clients to sign off on the permission to lodge.

The ATO have advised that they have approved that this authority will be able to be gained in a specialised letter of engagement that provides the approved person to lodge STP events on an ongoing basis, removing the need for the every-pay-event authorisation.  The ATO will be providing more guidance for bookkeepers in coming days on what detail needs to be included in the letter of engagement to meet legislative requirements.

“Only last week, we had the commissioner sign off on a more streamline process there. It involves an STP engagement authority, where the employer will do quite detailed authorisation upfront with their agent, in terms of what that agent can do on their behalf, including the fact that they can make those declarations on each STP report for the next 12 months,” advised Assistant Commissioner and Single Touch Payroll Lead at the ATO John Shepherd.

It is important to note that the requirements for lodgement authorities for BAS and other ATO reporting has not changed.  “If you lodge an income tax return, or an activity statement on behalf of a business, you’ve got to get that declaration each time you do that before you can submit to the ATO. For STP, we had a lot of feedback that with weekly or fortnightly frequency, if that’s how often you do your payday, that was a bit of a burden and a bit of red tape to still have that for STP,” Mr Shepherd said.

It is fantastic to see the ATO listening and responding to streamline processes and deliver practical solutions that really does lift red tape for small businesses in Australia.

Source: Accountants Daily