Tax & Super Australia (TSA) says the ATO should strongly consider exempting micro employers from having to use single touch payroll (STP) after a survey of its members that found that STP has been costly, time-consuming and overly onerous for their smaller business and micro employer clients.

Further, many members were unconvinced about the long-term benefits STP can offer these businesses.

The survey captured responses from 275 TSA members, who are mostly tax agents. It showed that while respondents had been diligent in helping their clients move to STP technology, just a third (34%) believed that it would improve the way employers report tax and super information to the ATO, with 31% believing it wouldn’t. The remaining were undecided.

Members further reported that their smaller business and micro employer clients were struggling to implement the system by themselves. The vast majority (92%) of respondents said either most, some or all of their clients needed help implementing STP. Only 8 per cent said their clients didn’t need any help.

TSA senior tax counsel John Jeffreys said the survey showed that, to date, STP is not the panacea for all ills of the payroll systems of Australian businesses, and that micro employers should be exempt from having to use it.

“A total exemption from STP should be considered for micro employers,” he said. “However, there should be compulsion to use STP if such an employer was audited and found to be making errors with their payroll.  In other words, you can keep using your current payroll system, but if you are found to be making errors, you will be forced to use STP.”Readmore