User Q & A

Below are a collection of questions raised by users via Synergetic's STP information webinars or other channels.  

Please note - this information is not considered official financial advice relating to tax or payroll legal requirements - the answers here represent Synergetic's effort to answer client questions relating to Synergetic software functionality. 

This information is subject to change as additional questions and Synergetic's solution for STP transaction evolves.

Finalising Pays

Q: What happens if the incorrect BSB and/or account number has been given?  

A: There are two possible solutions to this, depending on when the incorrect details are discovered.

  1. At any time before the pay is submitted to the ATO, the finalise process can be cancelled using the Cancel button to allow the pay to be edited.  You can then alter the payment details, and then start the finalise pay process again.
  2. Once the STP Payroll Event has been sent you cannot unlock the pay.  However, in this case we have made it so that you can alter the payment method details in the current pay and regenerate the bank file.  The ATO only receives the amounts and not the banking details so there is no need to update what has been sent to them.


Q: Would it be worth having a logical order to the menu in "Finalise Payroll" in the order you would normally prepare it. Better with the "View Payroll Report" before the "Commence Payroll Finalisation"?

A: The order has been set this way as it’s not strictly necessary to view the report before finalisation, however once the pay has been finalised, the view report step then shows the final set of data and must be run.

  • The order of the items has been the subject of much discussion as there are many different ways our clients go through the end-of-pay process.  They are now ordered in a way that we suggest as the safest order to do things but it is not very prescriptive.


Q: So we can't finalise the pay until we get a response from the ATO?

A: You do not have to wait for a response from the ATO to close off the pay or to carry out other end-of-pay processes. 

It may be a good idea, at least to start, to wait for the ATO's response before sending the payslips so, if there are issues that result in the pay event being rejected, you don't have to resend corrected payslips.  Of course, if you don't have time to meet the obligation under Fair Work to supply the payslip within one working day of the payment then you would also do the payslip before the response is received.


Q: Will this hold up the next pay if you have two in the same week? i.e. monthly and fortnightly

A: You can only have one pay undergoing submission to the ATO at one time.  However this will not hold up any other pay processes.  The only delay you may have is to wait for one STP submission to finish before triggering the next STP submission.


Q: Can we pay the employees and then wait to finalise the STP process?

A: The ATO requires that you submit the payment event to them on or before the day that the payment is made. You can generate the bank file and upload it ahead of the payment date however, and then send the STP event on the payment date.

There is an exception when a payment is an additional out-of-cycle payment, you can then wait to report that with the next regular pay.


Q: Can you have more than one pay open at a time still?

A: Yes, you can have multiple pays open in parallel, but only one can be undergoing STP submission to the ATO at one time.


STP Submission

Q: Is it important to submit the STP before the Payroll process date? Can it be the same date?

A: The key date in the pay for STP is the Posting date.  This is what will be transmitted to the ATO as the payment date. 

The STP Payroll event should be submitted on or before the Pay date.


Q: Does the STP have to be sent and verified before we can process the pay through the bank?

A: No. You should not delay payment based on not having received a response from the ATO's STP service.


Q: What happens if a pay event is filed after the payment date?  Will it be rejected by the STP service?

A: No, the record won't be rejected.  There may be legitimate reasons for the late lodgement such as factors outside your control (e.g. ATO Web service down for maintenance).  If it is genuinely late the ATO may flag it as a late lodgement to be followed up with you. 

Q: Does the STP submission need to be acknowledged by the ATO before payment to the employees, or is the submission date being the same value sufficient?  

A: No.  In usual processing we believe it would be extremely rare that you have not received acknowledgement from the ATO in a timely fashion.  If there were something wrong with the STP web service (e.g. down for maintenance) and there was a delay in acknowledgement you should still pay your employees in the required time.


Q: If the process date was say 1/4/18 and the STP date was 2/4/18 does this mean the payment date can be 2/4/18 or later?

A: The date that you’re transacting into the General Ledger is the process date;  This is not important as far as STP goes.  The payment available date should be on or after the date that you are sending the STP event.


Q: For the STP authorising person ability, can the system allow two people to be recorded, as we have one employee managing monthly payroll and a separate person for fortnightly payroll?

A:  Each pay can be signed off (declared as correct) by a different user.  They need to be logged in themselves to complete the declaration and to send the payroll event.  Each STP transaction will also include a contact person for the organisation.  There can only be one of them.  This is similar to the current situation where you can only have one contact listed for the PAYG summary.


STP Events and content

Q: How is superannuation reported to the ATO?

A: Superannuation amounts are reported to the ATO through STP events.  This includes Super Guarantee and Reportable Super amounts.  These amounts are reported when the superannuation liability is incurred.  Existing reporting when actually making the super payments hasn't changed. The total liability will be reported by the STP pay event to the ATO, but you still need to upload the superannuation file to your clearing house for processing.


Q: How and where do we report FBT for employees?

A: The FBT will be entered in the employee tax tab as the gross amount.


Q: For FBT, do we enter the amount into the employee file before the last pay in the financial year and will this be transmitted to the ATO with the last pay?  We can’t put it in every pay because some employees may fall below the limit and may not have to be reported.

A: Yes, before the last STP event the amounts will be entered in tax tab as gross amount. the amount need to be on the reportable space for FBT before the last pay we don't need it in every pay.


Q: When will reportable benefits need to be reported through the STP?

A: Reportable benefits like FBT will be entered in the tax tab as soon as you have the information and before the last STP event for the year.


Q: Will reportable benefits (like extra super) become a manual process? Instead of automatic like it is now?

A: The process will be the same as before.


Q: If we start using STP after 1 July will the initial pay event be a Year To Date notification?

A: Every STP notification sent to the ATO for an employee indicates their Year To Date figure, so the initial event, if sent after 1 July, will show the cumulative YTD figure.


Q: Currently ETPs are a manual process.  Can you please confirm whether ETP can be reported via STP or manual?

A: The ETP date and the total amount will be reported via STP, however we haven’t made any changes in terms of handling the ETP calculation itself yet.


Q: How does STP handle employees who have no Tax File Number - ie new tax payers who originally have a 111 111 111 TFN.

A: The status that they don’t have a TFN will be transmitted to ATO as part of the STP event, and once the employee has a TFN recorded the ATO will be sent the updated TFN in the next STP event they are included in.


Q: Schools often terminate staff and then they come back, sometimes in the same financial year. Teachers retire and then can be used as emergency teachers. How will Synergetic deal with the original termination date notification to ATO?

A:  As the termination date is included in the STP event content, when the employee is first marked as terminated the ATO will receive this information in the next STP event.  If the employee is subsequently rehired, you would just clear out the termination date in Synergetic, and the change in that detail will again be shared with the ATO with the next STP event. 

If you needed to make an unexpected extra payment to a still-terminated employee, you won’t need to remove the termination date first. 

The process should be a bit simpler compared to previous PAYG scenarios where the terminated employee might request their PAYG statement earlier than the end of payroll year.


Q: Do we still need to lodge the BAS manually?

A: Continue to do as you are currently doing. The changes for STP will not impact the Synergetic BAS process.  If you have correctly reported through STP during the whole year, your W1 and W2 amounts should be prefilled when you log in to the ATO's business interface to complete your BAS.


Q: With regard to the pay lines per each employee, is all of the information sent to the ATO via STP or is only certain information sent?

A: Synergetic will only send the data the ATO has asked for inclusion within STP events. As there are some updated configuration options for Pay Codes and identifying what should be included, you should review your Pay Codes before your first STP run to confirm the STP content will be correct. There is a Discourse post listing the updated Pay Code types which will be available.



Q: With superannuation reporting, what happens when we have defined benefits? Is it reported differently via stp?

A: If you have a super line for the employee with a nominal amount specified (e.g. 3%) that will be transmitted to the ATO. If you can't enter an SGC amount for employees, you can report their Ordinary Time Earnings instead.  We have added a switch at the system level to allow you to report OTE in STP.  It won't be on by default (so that clients who don't have complex super requirements don't have to worry about it) but you will be able to set up OTE calculations if you need to.

Q: If we have two ABNs and generate two payrolls at the same time, how do we send it through STP?

A: As is currently the case, if you operate with two ABNs you would need two finance databases/schemas.  Each one would have its own identity under STP and they would not block each other.

Q: When should we update our pay codes for STP.

A: There are new Reporting Categories that will be available with STP and they will be deployed with V69.   When you first upgrade to V69 you will need to review your reporting categories and make sure you are satisfied with the mapping from pay code to pay code type and reporting category.  

End of Year Processes

Q: Is there is need to continue doing the payment summary process?

A: Once you are using STP there is no need to do PAYG summaries for that year.   


Q: Do we still need to update EMPDUPE file on to the ATO Portal?

A: Once you are using STP then there is no need to generate EMPDUPE files for that year. 


Q: If there is overpayment can we do a negative pay run to adjust the pay?

A: Short answer is yes... most of the time.  It is a little complex if the reversal of the overpayment is in the next financial year and would take an employee's pay go in to the negative.  You can never report a negative YTD figure for an employee so if the overpayment occured in the prior year and they are going to pay it back, you will report 0 until they are back in the positives.  If they will not pay it back then there is a manual rectification process with the ATO.

Upgrades and timeframe

Q: Will i need to contact synergetic for software upgrade?

A: Yes, requests for upgrade bookings are made via our Service Desk portal or phone call to our support desk.


Q: If Synergetic is deferring the STP implementation, do we get an automatic deferral or do we still have to report via STP?

A: As part of granting Synergetic's deferral request, the ATO provided Synergetic with a vendor deferral code which will cover all employers using Synergetic for up to the end of the deferral window (31 Jan 2019).  The ATO is able to determine which sites use Synergetic for Payroll via the PAYG submissions in prior years; for sites that are newly converted to using Synergetic and the ATO are not aware of this, your site may need to contact the ATO and quote the vendor code to ensure you are covered. 

Once your site has v69 installed and is ready to move to STP (ahead of July 1 or ahead of the deferral end date) you will be able to commence and do not need to wait until the deferral timeline finishes - you can commence with STP as soon as ready.  Note that once you commence using STP, you will be required to continue doing so by ATO requirement.


Q: As Synergetic will be sending STP events via an STP Messaging gateway, is this a Synergetic responsibility and we don’t have to do anything?

A: Synergetic will be responsible for the development of the transmission and for ensuring it complies with the gateway provider and ATO requirements; clients will need to ensure that the communication can get to the appropriate external destination eg configuring firewalls if required. 

The sending process uses the Synergetic Service Suite to process and send the STP payload to the gateway provider's API endpoint - using RESTful call via HTTPS with TLS encryption.  Depending on your infrastructure design and if/how Service Suite has been used previously, you may need to verify that the STP gateway end point is able to be accessed from the relevant server (which may involve firewall or other network security considerations). 

Q: We have invested in a Synergetic Pre-Prod (test) system to help us with our change management. Is there an equivalent test environment provided by the ATO?

A: The ATO has a test system for developers to test and confirm STP communications, however it is not open to employers as they only allow specific test scenarios to be used, with specific data.  At this stage there's no method for employers/your test system to do test communications with your own data.

Q: Is it the Synergetic recommendation to do the 68 & 69 upgrade at the same time?

A: We are encouraging clients to upgrade to V68 before the V69 upgrade as the V68 upgrade is a more significant upgrade and that will give you time to make sure any integrations are working before taking on STP in V69.