Businesses who were reporting via Single Touch Payroll (STP) in the 2022/23 financial year must complete the year end process via an STP finalisation event. We have compiled this article, which you should read alongside the STP EOFY Guide. We broke this article down into the different phases of end-of-year processing:
First things first, you need to be confident that you are using the correct year-end method to submit your finalisation declaration to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). Most businesses are reporting via STP; however, there are a few exemptions still in place for this financial year whereby businesses that are exempt can generate payment summaries.
In this section we clarify which businesses can lodge payment summaries and which businesses must report via STP. We have done this to clear up any confusion around year-end reporting methods that may vary for each business. If you have already completed year end processes using STP for prior financial years and/or are confident with the year-end reporting method you have chosen. Then you can proceed directly to Section 2.
In this section we will cover off questions around housekeeping tasks that you should perform before creating and lodging the STP finalisation event.
In this section we cover any questions around lodging finalisation events with the ATO, notifying employees and clarification around how employees can access their income statement.
Due to the varying scenarios around businesses transitioning between payroll systems during the financial year, we have included a separate section of commonly asked questions around this topic.
The general rule here is if you have lodged STP events during the financial year, you must lodge a finalisation event and cannot lodge payment summaries. In fact, the platform will have payment summary generation disabled. It is intentional and purely done so to make sure users do not lodge payment summaries or lodge STP events. Which would result in over reporting employee earnings. The repercussions of this are difficult to solve and will require ATO intervention.
We only started reporting STP mid-year. Do we still need to process a finalisation event?
Once you report STP during the financial year, regardless of the time of year you began, you will need to lodge a finalisation event as your chosen end-of-year method. You must not generate payment summaries/payment summary annual report (PSAR) as payroll data will be overstated to the ATO. In fact, the platform will not allow you to generate payment summaries as it recognises that you have lodged STP events throughout the financial year.
Do not forget that STP events are reporting Year to Date (YTD) payroll data. For example, if a business only started reporting via STP in February but was processing payments from the start of the financial year, the first event lodged in February would include all earnings processed from the 1st July for each employee in the event. Be aware that pay events only include employees who you paid in the pay run you are lodging.
There may be some employees paid from the start of the financial year who you have not paid since the business started lodging via STP. To make sure you capture all employee data, create and lodge an update event before creating the finalisation event. The update event will capture all employees, for the chosen pay schedule, paid in the financial year, who have not previously been marked as is final in an event. Once completed, you will then be able to process your finalisation event.
We have not been reporting through STP during the financial year but want to process a finalisation event rather than a payment summary. Is this possible?
If you are a Withholding Payer Number (WPN) holder and are not a registered agent for ATO reporting, you must generate payment summaries. The reason for this is that the ATO does not support electronic lodgement for WPN holders. Refer to our Payment Summary End of Year Guide for detailed instructions on generating and lodging payment summaries. Otherwise, WPN holders using the services of a registered agent can process an STP finalisation event instead of generating payment summaries.
All other businesses can definitely choose to lodge a finalisation event as the chosen year end method instead of generating payment summaries. Before creating a finalisation event, you must complete the following steps. It will make sure you successfully lodge an event with the ATO:
- If you have not already done so, you will need to enable STP. Pay particular attention to the instructions on the ATO integration and make sure you have notified the ATO of the software Id used by your business.
- Once the above is complete, lodge an STP pay event for the last pay run processed in the financial year. If you have multiple pay schedules set up in the business, make sure you lodge a pay event per pay schedule. The reason for this step is that the ATO requires that you have lodged an event successfully before lodging any finalisation event. If you do not lodge a pay event first, then your finalisation event lodgement will fail.
- Once you have successfully lodged the pay event, you can create an STP finalisation event. Please be aware that once you use STP you cannot generate payment summaries for your employees.
I have closely held employees. Do I have to lodge a payment summary or can I include them in a finalisation event?
Effective from the 1st of July 2021, report all your other employees through STP. You must select one of the two options; Report employee on each pay run or Report employee on a quarterly basis. We will include employees who have the Report Employee on Each Pay Run option selected in the following STP events, including pay, update, and finalisation events. Once you include an employee in an STP event, you will need to continue to report them via STP. If you set employees to report quarterly, it will result in a separate finalisation event.
Are we no longer required by the ATO to keep a record of payment summary details?
Please be aware that all historical payment summary records for employees, i.e. for all financial years before beginning STP reporting, will remain in the platform. There are no back-ups required to get a copy of this data. You can access previously published payment summaries and Employee Termination Payments (ETP) summaries at an employee level via the Employee's Payment Summaries page. Or at a business level via the Payment Summaries option within the ATO Reports module. Employees can still access historic payment summaries via their employee portal and/or WorkZone.
I have employees who still want a printed payment summary. Is it as simple as just printing it out?
You cannot issue employees payment summaries, as you can no longer create these once reporting for STP. You can inform them you will provide an income statement and it is available via their myGov account. It is a significant change to what employees expect so it may be worth communicating with your employees in advance to let them know what the changes are.
I have just discovered after reporting STP for an employee all year that they should be classified as closely held. Can I now mark this employee as closely held, update the ATO with a lodgement before finalisation, and then process a payment summary for that one employee.
No, you cannot. You must report closely held employees via STP from 1st July 2021.
It is best practise to make sure all business and employee settings/earnings are correct before starting the STP finalisation process. It will make sure that you avoid any validation issues and you correctly report your employees' YTD payment earnings. Refer to the Preparation section of our STP EOFY Guide for detailed suggestions. Below are questions asked by users before beginning the finalisation process that may apply to you.
What happens if I have not finalised a pay run? Will we include it?
If you have not finalised a pay run we will not report this data to the ATO. If you lodge your finalisation event before finalising all pay runs for the 2022/23 financial year; you will then need to lodge an amended finalisation event so that the correct figures are reported to the ATO. It includes normal pay runs and any ad hoc pay runs; if it relates to an employee's pay or is a change to an employee's pay, it must be finalised before you report it to the ATO.
Do all pay events need lodging succesfully with the ATO before starting the finalisation process? There are some events that are currently in a failed or submitted status.
Best practise is tha you lodge all pay events successfully before lodging additional events. Also, note the ATO's deadlines for reporting STP:
"You are required to report a pay event to the ATO on or before the pay day. The pay day is either the payment date stipulated in the electronic transaction to your financial institution or, if you did not stipulate a date for payment, the date you intend to make the payment into your employee's bank account"
However, at this stage of the game and to lodge the finalisation event, you can still lodge a finalisation event without having all the pay runs successfully lodged. The reason for this is because the earnings that are reported in the finalisation event are the total YTD amounts processed in all completed pay runs for the financial year, as opposed to the YTD amounts reported in just the lodged STP events.
Do we need to lodge an STP event first before lodging a finalisation event?
Yes. The ATO requires that you lodge a pay event successfully before lodging a finalisation event in that financial year. The consequence of not having lodged a pay event first is that the finalisation event lodgement will fail.
Do we need to lodge an update event for STP Phase 2 first before lodging a finalisation event?
Yes, we absolutely recommend creating and loading an update event after you have lodged your final pay run and before you process your finalisation event.
It will make sure disaggregated earnings are reported correctly, especially for employees who have been previously terminated. Also, you can use this data to work on your reconciliation ahead of your finalisation event.
One of our monthly pay runs (pay event) has a status of "Failed" but all other pay runs were lodged successfully with the ATO. Will we include the earnings from the failed pay event in the finalisation event?
Yes, they will. So long as pay runs are finalised and regardless of whether you lodged them successfully with the ATO or not, we will include the earnings as part of the employees' YTD figures reported in the finalisation event.
What has changed with the introduction of STP Phase Two?
The biggest change brought about with the introduction of Phase Two is the additional reporting requirements for employee and earnings data. The ATO's intent in capturing more information is to streamline employer and employee interactions with other government agencies. They also want to reduce the administrative tasks associated with the hiring and termination of employees. The key reporting changes were:
- Disaggregation of gross.
- Employment and taxation conditions.
- Child support garnishees/deductions.
- Income types and country codes.
- Lump sum E payments.
You can access the instructions for creating and lodging an STP finalisation here. Below are some specific scenarios asked by users that may be relevant to you.
If I lodge an update successfully lodged and all employees marked as is final, is this enough as a finalisation event or do I need to lodge a a finalisation event again via the STP EOFY Wizard?
Lodging an update event with all employees marked as is final meets the requirements of completing a finalisation event. To clarify, the STP EOFY Wizard is not the only way of lodging a finalisation event, we have merely created this feature to provide a simple step-by-step process on how to lodge a finalisation event.
Take note that lodging a finalisation event via an update event will not allow you to send a bulk email notification to employees. Rather, you will need to communicate this to employees outside the platform.
Employees are normally paid on a monthly pay schedule, but sometimes they have been paid using an ad hoc pay schedule (for out of process adjustments and/or bonuses). Do we need to process a finalisation event for both the monthly pay schedule and the ad hoc pay schedule?
No. If the employee has the monthly pay schedule assigned, as configured in the employee Pay Run Defaults page, then we will include any earnings processed within ad hoc pay runs in the finalisation event for the monthly pay schedule.
When creating a finalisation event, you need to select a pay schedule. When this is done, the event will include all active employees, that is, employees not marked as is final in prior events, that have the selected pay schedule assigned as their primary pay schedule. Within the finalisation event, the employee's total YTD earnings will include all earnings processed during the financial year, regardless of the pay schedule used to process the payment.
When selecting the pay schedule during the finalisation event, you are telling the platform to include all employees with that pay schedule assigned to that finalisation event. Before you process finalisation events, we strongly suggest checking that you have assigned the correct primary pay schedules to your employees. It will make sure you do not attach employees to any ad hoc pay schedules.
We changed from processing a weekly pay schedule to processing a fortnightly pay schedule during the financial year. Does this mean we have to create a finalisation event for both the weekly and fortnight pay schedule?
If the weekly pay schedule is no longer an active pay schedule, you will only need to create a finalisation event for the fortnightly pay schedule. We do strongly recommend, making sure all employees, including employees terminated in the financial year, have the fortnightly pay schedule assigned to them. It will make sure all active and inactive employees paid in the financial year are picked up in the finalisation event.
Alternatively, if eligible, you can create a finalisation event for all pay schedules. It will make sure all active employees appear in the finalisation event and you will not have to worry about auditing what pay schedules you have attached to what employees. In this scenario, they deem a business eligible if they have less than 2000 active employees set up.
I am unable to proceed from the 'Confirm payroll data' step. I am being asked to correct all validation warnings before continuing to the next step.
You will experience this issue if there are validation warnings that you have corrected. We have enforced this practise to avoid failed lodgements with the ATO. When completing the finalisation event process, we will validate the payroll earnings, company and employee details, in the Confirm Payroll Data step.
If any validation warnings display at this stage, you need to resolve the issues before you can proceed any further. Once actioned, return to the Confirm Payroll Data screen, click the Actions button, and click the Refresh Data button. All warnings will disappear if you have corrected the root cause.
We only started reporting STP mid-year and had previously processed termination payments. Will the terminated employees appear in the finalisation event?
It will appear in the finalisation event only if you have not included them in a prior successfully lodged event and marked as is final. If this has occurred, you will know when you create the finalisation event as a list of employees already finalised in a prior event that are, as a result, not included in the finalisation event will display on your screen.
If you mark an employee as is final in a successfully lodged event, you are communicating to the ATO that this is the final payment being made to the employee for that financial year. By doing this you have basically conducted a finalisation event for that employee.
You can do an audit of all terminated employees to check if you have already included them in any STP events lodged with the ATO by downloading the Excel YTD report. You can download this report from the most recent STP event lodged for this financial year. You can access the report by clicking the Download button within the STP event.
If the terminated employee appears in the report, this acts as confirmation that you have reported on them an STP event during the financial year and so should include them in a finalisation event. If the report indicates you previously finalised the employee, you can see this is the case by the value Y showing in the Is final column for that employee in the YTD report. It confirms the finalisation declaration process has already occurred and no further action is required for that employee.
We have multiple pay schedules set up in the business. I started the finalisation event for one pay schedule. Can I now click on "Save for later" and then start the finalisation event for another pay schedule or do I have to finish the first finalisation event before I can start on another?
You can have multiple finalisation events open at the same time for different pay schedules. That is, you do not have to complete/lodge one finalisation event before you start on another finalisation event for a different pay schedule.
However, you cannot create multiple finalisation events for the same pay schedule. However, you can only create one finalisation event per pay schedule. If you then need to make amendments or add RFBT amounts for certain employees, you will need to create an amended finalisation event for that pay schedule.
If you create a finalisation event with the option to include all pay schedules, please note that you will then not be able to create a separate finalisation event for a specific pay schedule. The ATO deems a business eligible if they have less than 2000 active employees set up.
Are closely held employees included in the finalisation event?
If you have marked an employee as closely held, the reporting setting used for STP income types in the employee's Pay Run Defaults page will determine whether we include the employee.
Once a finalisation event lodges successfully lodged with the ATO, will the status in the employee's myGov account change to 'Tax ready'?
Yes. As such, if you notice that an employee's pay needs adjusting after lodging the finalisation event you must action this immediately and notify the employee so they do not use outdated data to lodge their tax return.
Can I still create an urgent ad hoc pay run after lodging a finalisation event? If yes, how is this done using the STP EOFY Wizard?
Yes, you can. However, remember, the successful finalisation event will mark the employee's income statement as Tax Ready. So you must notify the employee immediately that an adjusted pay is required and to hold off on lodging their tax return. If not done before an amendment takes place and they lodge their tax return, there will be implications for the employee.
Once you have completed the ad hoc pay run, go to Single Touch Payroll Reporting module. From this screen, click on the drop-down to the right of the Start Finalisation Process button and then click the Create an amended Finalisation Event button.
The option will only appear once you lodge a successful finalisation event with the ATO. From there, we will direct you to enter the applicable pay schedule and then add the affected employees. You can select all employees or just the specific employees affected.
The Amendment Employees consist of all active and terminated employees assigned to that specific pay schedule that have a start date earlier than 1st July 2023. Once you proceed to the next screen, the process will mirror that of a finalisation event.
Do I have to complete the finalisation event process before I can start creating pay runs for the 2023/24 financial year?
No. You can start creating pay runs for the new financial year immediately without having begun the finalisation event process for this financial year.
What informations shows on the notification email sent to employees once I lodge the finalisation successfully?
Users can choose to send out the platform generated notification email once you have successfully lodged the finalisation event. To be clear, this option is only available where you have processed the finalisation via the Start Finalisation Process button but not via an update event. To send the notifications from within the successful finalisation event, click on Actions button and then click the Send Notifications button. The text is fixed and you cannot change this information. The email contains the following text:
"Your income statement for [Employing Entity Name] for the financial year ending June 30, 2023 is now available.
You can access your income statement via ATO online services through your myGov account. If you do not already have a myGov account, it is easy to create. Click here for instructions on how to do this.
To clarify, an income statement is different to a payment summary. We are no longer required to provide you with a payment summary as we have been reporting your payroll data for the financial year through Single Touch Payroll (STP).
Other general information regarding how STP has changed the end of year process can be found here."
How can I resend the notification after the finalisation event
Click the Actions button within the successful finalisation event and select the Re-Send Notifications button. Doing this will notify to all employees again as you cannot re-send a notification to an individual employee.
Can we print the income statements for employees who do not have an email address?
First, to clarify, the notification email sent to employees does not include a copy of their income statement. The email simply advises the employee that their income statement is now available and how they can access it.
Second, no payroll platform can generate or keep copies of employee income statements, as this is currently not catered for by the ATO. Employees can only access their income statement in one of the following ways:
- The employee's myGov account. If the employee lodges their own tax return and cannot create a myGov account, they will need to get in contact with the ATO.
- If the employee is using a registered agent to lodge their tax return, their registered agent will have access to the employee's income statement.
How are JobMaker payments dealt with in end of financial year STP process? Do I need to take any additional steps when finalising reporting?
Be aware that because of ATO requirements, JobMaker nominations are reported separately as allowances and should appear in STP events under the allowances column. Provided you have set up JobMaker payments correctly, they will appear correctly. If you are using the system-generated JobMaker pay categories, the correct STP classifications have already been applied. There are no further steps required for the end of financial year regarding JobMaker payments.
How do I report fringe benefits for previously terminated employees?
First thing to check is whether the previously terminated employee is appearing in the finalisation event. You can confirm whether this is the case by searching for the employee in the event, once you have created it or reviewing the employees listed in the warning about who is not appearing in the finalisation event
If the employee is not in the event, you will first need to lodge the finalisation event and then the option to create an amended finalisation event will become available. Manually add the previously terminated employee to the amended finalisation event so you can enter their Reportable Frindge Benefits (RFB) amount. Lodge this event so that RFB is reported for the employee.
Before the 16th July 2021 there were an additional two sub-settings which separated out the type of organisation and whether employees had an entitlement to a separate cap for salary-packaged entertainment benefits. We have removed these as they do not impact how RFB amounts are reported for employees via STP or payment summaries for that matter, and so were redundant. Any existing lodged STP events that did not have RFB amounts reported will only have one RFB column called RFBA displayed in the event
If any existing lodged STP events have RFB amounts reported in the RFBA – Entertainment or RFBA–Other column, the applicable RFB column will remain in the event. As will the amounts previously reported. That is, you will not lose previously entered RFB amounts because of this change. As per new STP events created moving forward, there will only be one column for RFBA.
How do we record Foreign Tax Paid for our foreign employees?
If you link your employee/s to the Foreign Employment STP income type in their Pay Run Defaults page and you are reporting via STP Phase two 21/22 onwards, a new step titled Enter Foreign Tax Paid will show in the finalisation wizard. Here you can enter the amount of foreign tax paid for the FEI employee. If no foreign tax is paid or payable by the end of the financial year, then you would report the income as Salary and Wages. See here for more details: STP: Income types and Phase two reporting.
What if I do not know the 'home country' for my Working Holiday Maker, can I still complete the finalisation process?
No. Employees classified as Working Holiday Makers must also be linked to the country of the visa or home country of the employee, as per their visa arrangements. They recorded this in their Tax File Declaration settings and will prompt a Validation Warning if it is not done before you create the Finalisation Event.
We need to manually enter RESC against certain employees before we report the finalisation event. How do we do this?
You cannot manually enter RESC in a finalisation event. Rather, you will need to create a pay run and process the RESC amounts in the pay run. Make sure when completing the pay run that the date paid is by the 30th June. Entering RESC in a pay run also makes sure you process the employee super correctly, if using our integrated super solution) and reported correctly via the relevant super reports.
There are so many variables with this topic and different scenarios that need to be considered here. If we have not discussed your exact scenario below, please refer to this article to get a better understanding and resolution to your specific situation.
We changed payroll systems during the financial year and have not added previously terminated employees (from a prior payroll platform) to this payroll platform. How do we deal with the terminated employees not entered in this payroll platform?
The first thing that needs to be considered here is whether the business was reporting through STP in the previous payroll platform.
Scenario 1: Reporting through STP was occurring in previous payroll platform
If this is the case, you need to make sure the employees' final STP event in the previous payroll platform included these employees and were marked as is final. It acts as an indicator to the ATO that there are no further payments that need applying to that employee for the rest of the financial year.
So you followed this process; then there is nothing further required for you to do with these employees, their finalisation event has occurred. If you have not done this, then lodge an update event in the previous payroll platform for those terminated employees and mark as is final.
Also, please note that as you have been reporting through STP in the previous payroll platform, you must not add the terminated employees in this payroll platform and include opening balances as this will duplicate the reporting of payroll data for the terminated employees. You must finalise the process for those terminated employees in the previous payroll platform.
Scenario 2: Reporting through STP was NOT occurring in a previous payroll platform
If this is the case and you have only started STP reporting in this payroll platform, then there are a few ways to deal with this:
- Option 1: Keep the terminated employee data in the previous payroll platform and generate payment summaries/PSAR for such employees; or
- Option 2: Add terminated employee data in this payroll platform and enter their YTD data via the Opening Balances functionality so that you include them in the finalisation event. If you choose this option, then you do not generate payment summaries/PSAR for the terminated employees.