Single Touch Payroll - how to count your employees

All information in this article, which pertains to the ATO’s Single Touch Payroll obligation, was sourced from the Australian Taxation Office and payroll software providers.  Deloitte Private has published this information in its Help Centre to assist you with STP and have not verified or tested its accuracy.


For employers with 20 or more employees as at 1 April 2018, STP will be mandatory from 1 July 2018.

For employers with 19 or less employees as at 1 April 2018, it is expected that STP will be mandatory from 1 July 2019 (subject to legislation being introduced and passed in parliament).

To find out if you are required to report through Single Touch Payroll you will need to do a headcount of the number of employees you had on your payroll on 1 April 2018. Even if you drop under 20 employees by 1 July, the ATO has stated that you will still be considered a substantial employer and will be required to use STP reporting, so it’s important that you perform a headcount of the employees you had on 1 April.

You will need to include the following employees 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).

Do not include 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 or religious practitioners.

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