Single Touch Payroll (STP) is mandatory for all employers with 20 or more employees from 1 July 2018. Employers with less than 20 employees have until 1 July 2019, although you can opt-in voluntarily from 1 July 18.

There are a number of actions you will need to take to be prepared.  Over the coming months, I will outline the steps and hopefully give you the resources you need to make sure you’re ready for implementation.

You can also download the ATO STP Get Ready Checklist 

Click here to download the checklist from the ATO Website

Today lets look at the first critical step

Count the employees on your payroll on 1 April 2018.

Keep a copy for your records, you don’t need to report this info to the ATO.

Count each employee, not the full-time equivalent (FTE).

The headcount is a bit like an employee census. You can do it after 1 April, but you need to count the employees who were on your payroll on 1 April.

Once you become a substantial employer you will need to continue reporting through STP even if your employee numbers drop to 19 or less – unless you apply for and are granted an exemption.

If you are part of a company group, you must include the total number of employees employed by all member companies of the wholly-owned group.

How to count your employees

Include in your headcount

  • full-time employees
  • part-time employees
  • casual employees who are on your payroll on 1 April and worked any time during March
  • employees based overseas
  • any employee absent or on leave (paid or unpaid)
  • seasonal employees (staff who are engaged short term to meet a regular peak workload, for example, harvest workers).

Don’t include in headcount

  • any employees who ceased work before 1 April
  • casual employees who did not work in March
  • independent contractors
  • staff provided by a third-party labour hire organisation
  • company directors
  • office holders
  • religious practitioners.

Directors, office holders and religious practitioners are not included in the headcount. They are not considered employees within the common law meaning of the term. However, when you start reporting through STP you will need to report their payment information. This is because the payments are subject to PAYGW and are reported with a payment summary.


We are here to help make your transition to STP painless.

Don’t wait till the last minute,

schedule an appointment with us today

Click Here to Book an STP Consultation

Leanne Berry

Leanne Berry

Director, Love Your Numbers



About The Author

A self-confessed "geek girl", Leanne is driven both by numbers and technology, and how the two elements can work together for the good of a client's business. She thrives on problem-solving and encourages and assists clients to derive more from their accounting and other integrated software and systems. She loves your numbers, while you love your business.

Leanne is an MYOB Gold Partner, Xero Silver Partner and a Fellow of The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers.  She is passionate about using the best cloud accounting tools, add-ons and platforms to ensure her clients are maximising their time, systems and processes.

A social media "junkie", Leanne is always investigating new ways to use these online platforms for the benefit of her business, other bookkeepers and her clients. Beyond bookkeeping, Leanne is an expert business mentor, trainer and facilitator.

In her spare time, Leanne develops and writes MYOB training manuals for Software Publications. These manuals are used throughout Australia for the Certificate IV in Financial Services (Bookkeeping) & (Accounting). When not working, Leanne enjoys spending time with her daughter Brodie and her beautiful golden labs Bella and Cooper.