Consequences of the introduction of Single Touch Payroll

6th November 2019

Employers have wanted to know why they now have to report their payroll data digitally to the ATO. Now, the tax office has revealed the first use of these real-time insights, in a warning to errant employers.

ATO deputy commissioner James O’Halloran said the agency is now “heavily focused” on Superannuation Guarantee (SG) obligations, having recently completed an examination of SG contributions for 75 million payment transactions for the first three quarters of 2018–19 from around 400,000 employers.

“From this data, we can already see that between 90 per cent and 92 per cent of contribution transactions by volume were paid on time and that between 85 per cent and 90 per cent of the transactions by dollar value were paid on time,” Mr O’Halloran said in a speech to the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) 2019 Chairs Forum.

“We’re now starting to actively use the data to warn employers who appear not to be paying the required SG on time, in full or at all, that they should change their behaviour.”

The ATO has attributed the increased in data visibility to the introduction of Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting as well as improvements in super funds’ reporting through the Member Account Transaction Service (MATS).

A new SG campaign is now underway, with Mr O’Halloran noting that 2,500 employers who have been identified as having paid some or all of their SG contributions late during 2018–19 set to be contacted this week.

A further 4,000 employers will begin receiving due-date reminders from the ATO.

“It should be noted this is the first direct use of the Single Touch Payroll reporting arrangements, based on what your funds report to us relating to SG payments,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“It’s a tangible action which demonstrates our increasing ability to effectively follow up in relative real time apparent late or non-payment of SG.”