What is your ETA for positive assurance?

What is your ETA for positive assurance?

Tony O'Reilly notes the significance of obtaining positive assurance on payroll data before the initiative of single touch payroll is introduced.

Tony O'Reilly

Director, Tax

KPMG Australia


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To help reduce red tape for businesses and employers, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) are currently consulting on an initiative called single touch payroll (STP).

STP would use payroll events to fulfil an employer’s reporting obligations. With STP, when a business or employer completes their payroll, this information could be used to simultaneously complete the following obligations:

• provide an electronic pay slip to their employees
• report earnings and pay as you go (PAYG) withholding tax electronically
• report superannuation electronically.

To ensure STP meets the needs of employers, the ATO are consulting with businesses, software providers and other associations to design and build STP. From the initial consultation the ATO have acknowledged that a start date of mid-2016 is not achievable for many businesses.

While it may be some time before STP becomes reality, it is clear that the ATO’s vision is to simplify employer payroll reporting through new technology interfaces. In doing so, the ATO will effectively have direct access to data from employer payroll systems. It could therefore be time that you considered obtaining positive assurance over your payroll related data, before the ATO has direct access.

Using various business intelligence platforms, we have designed a number employment taxes analytics (ETA) procedures that seek to identify risks and opportunities in payroll related data sets.

These ETA procedures primarily focus on the accuracy of payroll taxes, superannuation guarantee charge, fringe benefits tax and PAYG withholding tax and can effectively provide positive assurance over your employer payroll reporting obligations.

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