The Australian Tax Office’s (ATO) expansion of the data they collect each pay run, collectively known as Single Touch Payroll Phase 2 (STP2), is a major compliance challenge for the Aurion community.

To show our customers how we’ve addressed the changes in our software and explain our process for becoming STP2-ready, we brought together a team of Aurion payroll experts on Tuesday 22 February for a special STP2 webinar, hosted by Reianna Vercoe, Aurion’s Product and Marketing Manager:

  • Jason Mackie, Product Owner – Payroll: key software changes
  • Jayne Poulter, STP2 Resource Coordinator: the 6-step STP-ready service
  • Kristie Williams, Solutions Consultant: STP2 workshops, e-learning and configuration.

Key software changes
Jason Mackie explained why these specific changes have been made. Firstly, because of instruction from the ATO, but also because of the benefits for employers.

STP Phase 2 aims to reduce the reporting burden on employers and support Australia’s social security system. Jason mentioned some of the previously manual tasks that will be automated in STP, such as reporting a separation certificate or lodging a separate remittance report for child support, and eventually TFN declarations.

Jason recommends you read the ATO employer reporting guidelines for STP2. Although it’s lengthy, it covers several reasons why we’re making the changes we are, and why employers need to start reporting these different pieces of data.

Some of the changes you can expect to see in Aurion, include:

  • Company details, including your reporting software and employment of working holiday makers
  • A swag of tax group codes for configuration
  • Disaggregation of some amounts for Allowances
  • Five new fields for Employee Tax and Net Pay details
  • STP configuration –mapping pay codes to report disaggregation of gross
  • New fields for STP Payee details, such as tax treatment codes.

The 6-step STP-Ready service
Jayne Poulter walks through the process of becoming STP2-ready with Aurion:

  1. Get to know the ATO guidelines: information available on the STP Resources page.
  2. Download the STP Phase 2 query: run in your production environment.
  3. Create an STP2 support ticket: once you have your AQT exports.
  4. Book your discovery workshop: after we have sent you your blueprint.
  5. Participate in the discovery workshop: go through the data needed to populate the blueprint, and meet your key payroll staff.
  6. If required, book STP2 assistance service for any aspect of your configuration.

STP2 compliance support
Kristie Williams outlined all the different support options and resources available to the Aurion community. She explains what to expect from the discovery workshop, outlines the key configurations changes you’ll need to make.

During the workshop you’ll discuss the different codes that can be used in your environment, and what codes you think should be used for ATO reporting. Kristie displayed a blueprint, which is essentially a summary of STP2 configuration changes required for your organisation, and a snapshot of your environment at a point in time.

STP Phase 2 requires an increased amount of data, which is reflected in new Time Codes to separate and clarify what payments are being received by the employees, such as allowances and deductions.

If you want to make these changes yourself, we have a suite of e-learning material to guide your STP2 configuration changes. The only cost involved in our STP2 compliance process is if you’d like our help implementing the necessary changes to your Aurion solution.

Your STP2 questions answered
The expert panel came together at the end of their individual presentation to answer questions from attendees.

Can employees update Medicare-dependant data via ESS? As an employer, you only need to share info the ATO only if the employee tells you to change their tax details via a Medicare levy variation document, which the ATO needs done on a signed form, not via self-service.

What in the gross amount needs to be disaggregated? If it’s an identifiable component of the gross, then you should disaggregate it and report separately. If you’re unsure, contact the ATO for clarification and/or seek legal advice. Aurion provides the tools for compliance, but individual employers will need to make those decisions themselves, based on professional advice.

When can STP2 reporting begin? You can begin implementing the new Aurion configuration as soon as you’re ready, and then begin STP2 reporting. We always recommend our customers are on the latest version (log in for access); Aurion version 11.79.1 is the earliest version to be STP2-certified by the ATO.

The ATO have granted a deferral for STP2 reporting through Aurion until 30 September 2022 to give Aurion customers additional time to make the transition. The ATO will contact our community members a month before end of September if they have not received an STP2 transmission, and from that point employers can request a further extension.

STP2 resources for you
Are you an Aurion customer? If you missed the webinar or want to watch it again, a recording is available on our STP Resources page. To register for your free STP2 Blueprint session with our team, visit the page: Getting started with STP2 Transition. We’ll explain the STP2 configuration needed to ensure payments are mapped correctly for ATO reporting.

Here’s a suite of free resource to help you prepare for STP Phase 2. For a step-by-step summary of the changes and new compliance requirements, watch the Aurion webinar: What you need to know about STP Phase 2 & Payroll Compliance. To see the changes at a glance, download our free infosheet on preparing for STP2.

Resources from the ATO:

Read on: see how registered Digital Service Providers (DSPs) like Aurion have been working with the ATO to test & release STP2 compliant payroll and satisfy new government requirements. Discover our most recent National Aurion Community Event from December 2021, where we invited our customers to review our service and software enhancements from the past year and offered a peek at what’s in store for them in 2022.