The recent announcement by the Government to postpone the introduction of Single Touch Payroll has been welcomed by the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA).

“We urged the Government to consider the impact on many small businesses and it is pleasing that the Government is taking a closer look,” said IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway.

The Government will undertake extensive piloting across a range of sectors to ascertain the impacts and benefits of real time reporting of payroll information on small business entities.

“The confirmation that the Government will concentrate only on mandatory reporting aspects of single touch payroll and not in relation to payment obligations, is also a welcome relief.

“The pilot program should provide valuable insights before implementation proceeds. Small business needs to be reassured that the benefits are real and outweigh the costs.

“Australia should look favourably at technology advancements that streamline business efficiencies but we should do so in the appropriate way to avoid increasing the burden on many small businesses.

“For some businesses it will work quite well but in the case of many small and micro businesses, we may be increasing an unnecessary burden” said Mr Conway.

“It is an assumption and not necessarily reality that most businesses or their intermediaries have access to affordable cloud based software with a reliable internet connection.

“A one size fits all approach seldom works for the small business sector and this needs to be factored into pre-implementation planning to iron out problems before this initiative becomes mandatory.

“While it is a move to cut red tape for employers by simplifying tax and superannuation reporting obligations, the reality is that Single Touch Payroll has the potential to do the opposite for many micro and small businesses.

“The Government's decision to move slower on this initiative and engage in more consultation is a positive and welcomed step.