Accounting and business software providers have warned the government that proceeding with the proposed start date for the second phase of Single Touch Payroll will result in far-reaching negative economic outcomes.
The Australian Business Software Industry Association (ABSIA) has called for the proposed 1 July 2021 start date for STP Phase 2 to be deferred by 12 months, reinforcing calls from the major tax and accounting professional bodies.
STP Phase 2 will see employers being required to report additional payroll information each pay day.
ABSIA — whose members include key accounting software players such as MYOB, Xero, Intuit QuickBooks and Sage — believes the push towards 1 July 2021 comes despite widespread acknowledgement from the ATO that neither software developers, intermediaries nor employers will be ready for such a significant change by this date.
It has now told the government that current priorities such as JobMaker and the Fair Work Commission’s Modern Awards Pay Database will be immediately de-prioritised if the 1 July 2021 commencement date is locked in.
“Employers will not have access to the JobMaker rebate until the ATO designs a manual system,” said ABSIA in its submission to Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert and Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar.
“Wage theft will remain unchecked while honest mistakes will be met with higher penalties as proposed under the omnibus legislation.
“These outcomes, spread across the length and breadth of the recovering economy, are entirely avoidable.”
The association also believes that rushing the implementation will reduce the accuracy of reported incomes and exposes the government to the risk of incorrect income support decisions.
“Only through appropriate time for digital service providers (DSPs) to develop and test application programming interfaces (APIs) will the foundations be in place to assure STP Phase 2 data quality,” ABSIA said.
“ABSIA considers it would be impossible for the government to be making income support decisions based on compromised STP Phase 2 data received from 1 July 2021.
“The Single Touch Payroll Phase 2 commencement date of 1 July 2021 is a blow to the economy and the business software community.
“ABSIA urgently seeks a 12-month extension to 1 July 2022, entirely separate from the consultation period. This extension will allow members to continue working with the ATO to deliver both economy-critical measures and STP Phase 2 for Services Australia.”