Institute of Certified Bookkeepers

From the ATO

Streamlining registered agent authorisations for STP

The ATO has streamlined the process for clients to authorise their registered agent to act on their behalf for Single Touch Payroll (STP).

Eligible employers can now provide an annual written authorisation (an STP engagement authority) to their registered agent authorising them to lodge their STP reports for a financial year. This replaces the need for the employer to provide a written declaration each pay event.

The STP engagement authority is subject to eligibility criteria and is only available to employers and their registered agents for lodging an STP pay event.

An STP engagement authority must be reviewed and signed by an employer and their registered agent every 12 months or any time there has been a significant change in the industrial relations, taxation or payroll process.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible to use an STP engagement authority the employer must:

  • have no overdue activity statement lodgments
  • have no outstanding debts that are not either, covered by a payment arrangement or subject to review; and
  • not currently be or have been the subject of ATO compliance activity for PAYG withholding in the last two years.
  • Directors of companies must not have been issued with a Director Penalty Notice (DPN) in relation to the company or any other company where they are or have been a director.

What to include in the STP engagement authority

  • The STP engagement authority is a written agreement authorising a registered agent to act on an employer’s behalf for their STP reporting obligations.
  • It should capture the payroll calculation and reporting processes that the registered agent agrees to undertake on behalf of the employer . It may be in a stand-alone or existing engagement arrangement between the two parties.
  • This agreement allows the registered agent to make the ‘true and correct declaration’ and declare that they are authorised to lodge at the time of submitting the STP pay event.
  • Both the employer and registered agent should co-sign the agreement, and keep a copy for their records. You do not need to provide a copy to the ATO.


The STP engagement authority does not apply to finalisation declarations.

A registered agent must still obtain a signed declaration in writing from an employer before making the finalisation declaration on behalf of the employer at the end of the financial year.

ICB Information

All things ICB on Single Touch Payroll (Members)

Authorisations and Declarations in an STP world - a practical approach (draft words to include - Members)

  • 11 September 2018