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How to fix common errors with Single Touch Payroll Pay Event reports


Single Touch Payroll (STP) has been the catalyst for many an employer to clean up their data and that's a good thing. Who doesn't want good data? But since the introduction of STP we have seen common issues causing headaches for administrators submitting reports. Issues that are magnified when businesses have complex business structures and multiple ABN’s.

If this is you, you’ll need even more support to manage STP implementation. Get in touch with your Payroll Provider or talk to us at SuperChoice. We’re used to working through complex structures.

Look out for these common errors in your STP data

Outdated protocols The ATO regularly updates their standards and protocols for data transfer.

Check with your provider to make sure they have updated their software in-line with the latest protocols. If they haven't, your report will be rejected. Cloud Users: Automatic update via your payroll provider Desktop Users: Manually install a patch on your desktop (available from your provider).

SuperChoice adheres to ATO protocols at all times.

Data Mismatch When your data fields needs don’t match what the ATO needs.

The ATO is specific in what fields it accepts and the rules around data submission are absolute. Make sure your data fields exactly match what the ATO needs. As an example, if you have a desktop solution, your code for Australia may be AU or AUS or AUSTRALIA as the country code but the ATO doesn't accept that as a match.

This is only one field, imagine what it would be like if all your fields are inconsistent?

To get around these errors you can apply a piece of code (called a patch) to your software so that it auto updates all your fields at once, or your software provider may give you a patch to update.

Tax file number errors Data Entry errors are usually behind the error reports for Tax File Numbers, but in some cases employers have turned on an auto-TFN-exemption feature within the software. The ATO doesn’t recognise the inaccuracies and will automatically send an error message. To pick these errors up before you go live, ask your payroll provider if they have employee validation checks to identify where the errors are. SuperChoice STP solution uses employee validation checks.

Business authorities and appointments are out of date on ATO systems

You may run into problems when you submit your STP Pay Event report if the ATO doesn’t hold a record of that tax agent or intermediary, or you haven’t changed your authorised tax agent on AusKey.

When an organisation has multiple ABNs, and a related entity submits STP reports on behalf of other ABNs within a group that entity needs to have a business appointment to lodge on the ABNs behalf.

You’ll need to make sure you update all your business appointments and authorities.

Your data quality is poor

If your systems hold incomplete or inaccurate data on your employees and you don’t clean it up before you submit Single Touch Payroll, you’ll run into trouble. What to look out for:

  • Invalid address information such as Postcode/State

  • Data format issues (dates not being formatted to the ATO approved format)

  • Emails having basic format errors (for example, don’t contain an @)

  • TFN’s allowing more than nine digits

  • Country codes in the wrong format

Did you know, SuperChoice have over 130 validation checks in place to pick up all your errors before you submit a report?

Employer name and ABN details don’t match

This is likely a data entry issue. But when Employer details and ABN’s don’t match the Australian Business Register you’ll receive an error report. Make sure your payroll software can do a live check against the registry. The live check looks for - The ABN is active, live and valid (not ceased or removed). - A match between the ABN and the matching Legal Name of the employer (the matching legal name is meant to be supplied).

Need help navigating through Single Touch Payroll implementation? Talk to SuperChoice, the first messaging service provider to go live. We're used to dealing with complex business structures. Contact sales@superchoice.com.au or register for our free test-environment.


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