Updated: Oct 12, 2021
The stats are in and it's not looking good, response times for file submissions are off the scale with unacceptable delays in responses, key indicators are in the red. These are the early results with only a very small percentage of Employers currently reporting. There will be a significant degeneration to these figures when the "big end of town" transition their hundreds of thousands of employees into the system. You can read the currently published stats here.
The amount of data that is being sent to the ATO is now not just once a year, it's that same data but sent every pay period. A huge volume to be processed in real time, with responses also expected, in real time.
Those that have been involved from the beginning of the STP journey, and members of the STP Advisory Group, considered we could be here, but hoped that we wouldn’t, the ATO's architecture is not holding up or performing as expected.
What does this mean from here?
It means some sleepless nights for John Shepherd (Single Touch Payroll Program Lead at Australian Taxation Office) and the other significant members of his team that have the responsibility to ensure the implementation of STP goes smoothly. There will be no "patting on backs" for a successful implementation, achieving the desired outcomes...certainly not at this early stage...just more labouring for his hard-working, dedicated team.
For those that are currently processing payroll...a well-designed payroll system will continue to function and allow pay runs to be processed no matter what the state of the ATO, response or no response. STP is currently an adjunct to payroll processing and not an integral part...combined with a "softly softly" touch to payroll reporting compliance by the ATO, some of us can still sleep at night.