The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has set out new privacy laws from the 22nd of February 2018 which could impact you. The Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme is a new process that must be followed if a data breach occurs. TFN recipients are one of the entities that are covered by the Privacy Act and therefore must comply with this scheme. So if you have employees in your business then you are a TFN recipient as you would hold that personal information of your employees. If you are a complying entity (TFN recipient or other entity detailed in below link) then you must keep these records safe and secure and notify the affected individuals and the OAIC if a breach occurs. If you would like more information about this then please see the below link for businesses.
Payroll & Employees
The most asked questions I hear are on the differences between being an employee versus being a contractor. The below link lists the main differences from the ATO. If you are in the process of hiring or being hired and would like some assistance or more information then please contact my office. Please read below response from ATO on what to do if you’re unsure.
“What if the job you’ve been offered is described as contracting, but it looks more like being an employee?
Or, what if you have been a contractor, but the job has changed and now you think you might be an employee?
First, talk to the business to make sure you understand all the terms and conditions of your working arrangement.
If you have a written contract, it will contain your terms and conditions.
Often a business that is asking workers to wrongly apply for an ABN simply doesn’t understand the differences between contractors and employees. They might not know that they risk penalties for failing to treat their workers as employees. Some employers use this as a deliberate tactic to try and avoid their responsibilities.
You can also have a look at the information on the Fair Work Ombudsman website to help you understand more about working arrangements and how they affect you, your entitlements and responsibilities.
If you’ve signed a contract, consider whether you need to re-negotiate the terms and conditions. Getting legal advice can help you to understand what you are agreeing to and what you can or cannot change. The fact that you have a written agreement doesn’t necessarily make it legal for tax and super purposes.
A business that treats its employees as contractors gets an unfair advantage over others who are doing the right thing. You can report this to us anonymously to help stop unfair business practices.” Australian Taxation Office.
If you are in charge of payroll in the office then the below ATO link can help you identify the reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance for the 2017-2018 income year. It details the different allowance rates for meals, accommodation and incidentals whilst travelling for work purposes as well as the allowance rate for meals whilst working overtime. If you have any questions or are unsure how to calculate your employees travel allowances then please contact my office.
Automated superannuation is available in most accounting software packages. This software provides a simple and quick process when making super payments and understanding your super liability to your employees. Xero accounting software features automated superannuation within their payroll software. “With Payroll in Xero, paying employees Super contributions is a simple, automated process. In just a few clicks, your Super payments can be created, authorised, and paid.” (Xero)
If you are not using payroll software and would like more information, please view the below link which provides a video on the payroll software from Xero which shows how easy it is to process superannuation.
Have you heard of Single Touch Payroll (STP) ? It’s a new government initiative which will streamline payroll reporting, very similar to SuperStream. It works using accounting software by generating a report to the ATO each time you process payroll. The ATO is currently working with software developers and will make it mandatory for all employers who have 20 or more employees to begin STP reporting by 1 July 2018. Although this may not affect you currently, you may want to discuss this with your accountant as STP reporting may (not yet law) become mandatory for employers who have less than 20 employees by 1 July 2019. For those who use Xero accounting software, an official statement has been made regarding STP reporting: “STP functionality in Xero will be incorporated into the normal pay run process as required by legislation, and Xero will be updated before STP becomes mandatory i.e ( 1 July 2018)”.
The Fair Work Ombudsman have just created an app for smartphones which records working hours for employees.
“Using geofencing technology, the Record My Hours app will automatically and accurately record when an employee is at their workplace, becoming a helpful tool which will be closely considered by my Fair Work inspectors should there be a dispute between a business and an employee on hours worked.”
See below for more information.