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Key Considerations for Reporting Single Touch Payroll Phase 2

By Defy Gunadi October 23, 2023 | Tags:

As businesses navigate the intricacies of Single Touch Payroll Phase 2 (STP Phase 2), several critical factors emerge that require attention and understanding. The introduction of this phase aims to streamline reporting processes, but grasping the nuances is essential to ensure accurate payroll management and compliance.

Touch Payroll Phase 2
employment details have been submitted to the authorities through various forms

Reporting Relevant Employee Information

When determining the correct amount to withhold from employees’ pay, various factors come into play. Information provided by employees in their Tax File Number (TFN) declarations or withholding declarations, as well as their employment details, play a crucial role in this calculation.

Traditionally, certain employment details have been submitted to the authorities through various forms, such as TFN declarations and employment separation certificates. With STP Phase 2, these pieces of information must now be reported in each STP report. This unified reporting approach aims to enhance accuracy and reduce discrepancies.

Interaction Between STP and TFN Declarations

STP Phase 2 doesn’t alter the way employees provide their tax-related information. Employees are still required to submit completed TFN declarations to their employers. However, the introduction of STP Phase 2 changes the way this information is utilized. The employment and taxation details reported in the STP report will replace the need to send physical copies of TFN declarations to the authorities.

Notably, this shift allows for more dynamic reporting. Unlike before, where TFN declaration information remained static, STP Phase 2 updates employment and taxation data as circumstances change. This enables timely adjustments even without employees submitting new TFN declaration forms.

It’s important to note that existing employees don’t need to provide new TFN declarations to begin using STP Phase 2 reporting.

Single Touch Payroll
Providing information about employees

Components of Single Touch Payroll Reporting

STP Phase 2 reporting involves various key components, each serving a distinct purpose in payroll management and compliance:

  • Commencement Date: Reporting the commencement date for each employee is essential. This date signifies the start of their employment relationship and helps to accurately align records.
  • Employment Basis: Providing information about employees’ employment basis (full-time, part-time, casual, etc.) in each pay report helps contextualize the reported amounts and assists in reducing inquiries from relevant authorities.
  • Tax Treatment: The tax treatment code, consisting of six characters, encapsulates factors influencing the withholding amount for employees. STP Phase 2 automates this reporting, relieving the need to send TFN declarations to authorities. Employers gain the ability to inform employees about potential discrepancies in their information that might lead to tax bills.

Understanding these reporting components is crucial for accurate and compliant STP Phase 2 reporting. The adoption of these reporting practices ensures a smoother payroll management process while maintaining compliance with taxation regulations.

Accurate reporting of withheld or paid tax

Reporting the amounts, you have paid

While STP Phase 2 maintains the existing payments requiring reporting, it introduces modifications to how these amounts should be reported.

These alterations are designed to enhance the identification of payments subject to specific tax, superannuation, or social security treatments. Simultaneously, the changes facilitate pre-fill processes, streamlining the tax return lodgement experience for individual employees.

Key payment categories that may require reporting under STP Phase 2 include:

  • Income Types: Accurately reporting various income types ensures transparent and precise tax calculations.
  • Disaggregation of Gross: Enhanced reporting granularity separates gross amounts, aiding in accurate tax and superannuation calculations.
  • Allowances: Properly detailing allowances ensures correct treatment of payments subject to varying tax rules.
  • Back Pays: Reporting back pay accurately assists in adhering to taxation regulations and entitlements.
  • Exempt Foreign Employment Income: Reporting exempt foreign employment income is essential for accurate reporting and compliance.
  • Salary Sacrifice: Detailed reporting of salary sacrifice arrangements contributes to accurate tax assessments.
  • Tax Withheld or Paid: Accurate reporting of withheld or paid tax supports streamlined tax reconciliations.
requirements is crucial to smooth STP Phase 2 compliance

Components Affecting Employee Payments

When it comes to Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting, specific components influence the amounts paid to employees and relate directly to the employees themselves, rather than the nature of the payments. Understanding these components and their reporting requirements is crucial to smooth STP Phase 2 compliance.

For these particular components, it’s important to note that you do not need to include an income type or country code in your STP report. The components in focus include deductions, child support, and super.

Deductions: The reporting process for deductions remains unchanged under STP Phase 2. There are two distinct deduction types that can be reported:

  • Union and Professional Association Fees (Deduction Type F): This category encompasses union fees and professional association fees that have been deducted from payroll. Only these specific post-tax deductions should be reported under this deduction type.
  • Workplace Giving (Deduction Type W): If an employee opts to donate a portion of their pay through a salary sacrifice arrangement or a workplace giving deduction, these contributions should be reported as deduction type W. Notably, salary sacrifice contributions to charities fall under a different category.

Child Support Reporting: When your STP solution permits, you can opt to report child support amounts through STP. However, it’s important to recognize that even if you report child support amounts through STP, you are still required to make the requisite payments to Services Australia. There are three types of child support amounts:

  • Child Support Deductions (Deduction Type D): These deductions are made according to a deduction notice. They can be reported through STP.
  • Child Support Garnishees (Deduction Type G): Garnishee notices under section 72A of the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988 can also be reported through STP.
  • Employee-Initiated Child Support Amounts: If employees make arrangements to pay child support amounts even without an official notice, these amounts must not be reported through STP.

Reportable Employer Super Contributions and Reportable Fringe Benefit Amounts: You can report an employee’s reportable fringe benefits amounts (RFBA) and reportable employer super contributions (RESC) through STP. The reporting rules for these categories remain consistent with STP Phase 2.

Reporting for Employee Departures

Efficiently handling employee departures is an integral part of Single Touch Payroll (STP) Phase 2 reporting. By adhering to the following key requirements, employers can ensure smooth compliance and reduce the need for employment separation certificates.

When an employee leaves, their cessation date must be reported. This date signifies the end of their employment with your organization. If you provide additional payments (such as an ETP) to the employee after the cessation date, you are not required to update the cessation date in your report.

Diverse reasons prompt employee departures and reporting the accurate cessation reason in your STP report is essential. The permissible cessation reasons include, Voluntary Cessation (V), Ill Health (I), Deceased (D), Redundancy (R) etc.

Employment Termination Payments (ETPs) require specific reporting

Termination Payments:

Upon employee termination, certain payments necessitate reporting with income type and, in some cases, a country code. Changes encompass payments for unused leave on termination, now categorized under “Unused Leave on Termination (Paid Leave Type U)” instead of reporting as Gross in STP Phase 1.

Reporting lump sums via STP mandates income type, country code, and lump sum type code, with distinct codes for different lump sum categories: Lump Sum A (Types R and T) for unused leave payouts, Lump Sum B for pre-16 August 1978 long service leave, and Lump Sum D for tax-free genuine redundancy or early retirement scheme amounts. Employment Termination Payments (ETPs) require specific reporting, including payment date, ETP type, amount, and withholding details, guided by diverse ETP types for accurate classification.

Transfers or Rehiring:

For instances where employees are transferred or rehired, commencement dates, cessation dates, and cessation reasons must be reported as per the circumstances. These details depend on whether the employee is moved within the same organization or transferred to a different combination of ABNs and branches. These factors affect how dates and reasons are reported.


Navigating the complexities of Single Touch Payroll Phase 2 demands a comprehensive understanding of the key factors that influence reporting accuracy and compliance. Employers must recognize the significance of accurate reporting of employee details, the interaction between STP and TFN declarations, and the essential components of STP reports. By mastering these factors, businesses can streamline their payroll processes and ensure a smooth transition to the new reporting framework.

Our team of professionals is dedicated to helping your business navigate the complexities of STP Phase 2 with confidence. We provide the necessary resources and guidance to help you make a smooth and successful transition. With our support, you can streamline your payroll processes, maintain compliance, and adapt to the evolving landscape of payroll reporting.

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