How to set up your business to employee staff in Australia

Step 1. Register for Pay As You Go withholding

You must register for pay as you go (PAYG) withholding before you’re first required to make a payment that is subject to withholding. This is required even if you do not withhold any amount from a payment made.

You can register your business for an Australian business number (ABN), GST, PAYG and a business name, all at the same time on the Australian Business Register.

If you need to withhold tax but don’t need an ABN, you must register for a PAYG withholding account.

How to register for PAYG withholding

If you have an ABN

If your business has an active ABN, you can register or cancel your PAYG withholding business account:

Step 2. Employee to complete Tax File Number Declaration

Employee must omplete a Tax file number declaration so the employer can work out how much tax to withhold from wage payments.

How to get this form

Options are:

Completing your Tax file number declaration form online

If you are completing the pre-filled form in our online services, you’ll need your:

  • employers Australian business number (ABN)
  • employment type (for example, full time, part-time, casual)
  • employers default super fund details
    • name
    • unique superannuation identifier (USI) of your nominated super fund
    • ABN.

You’ll need to print out the completed form summary and return this to your payer so they can work out how much tax to withhold from payments they make to you.

Filling in your form on screen

If you are filling in this form on screen:

  • download a copy of this form to your computer
  • when complete, print a copy in A4 size
  • sign and date the declaration
  • give your completed form to your payer.

Filling in your form by hand

If you are filling in this form by hand:

  • print clearly in BLOCK LETTERS using a black or dark blue pen
  • place X in all applicable boxes
  • do not use correction fluid or covering stickers
  • sign and date the declaration
  • give your completed form in A4 size to your payer.

Step 3. Report wages to ATO through Single Touch Payroll

Single Touch Payroll

Single Touch Payroll (STP), is an Australian Government initiative to reduce employers’ reporting burdens to government agencies.

With STP, you report employees’ payroll information to us each time you pay them through STP-enabled software. Payroll information includes:

  • salaries and wages
  • pay as you go (PAYG) withholding
  • superannuation.

STP started on 1 July 2018 for employers with 20 or more employees and 1 July 2019 for employers with 19 or fewer employees and is a mandatory obligation.

We have provided several concessions depending on business, industry, or employer types. Most of these end on 1 July 2021. If you have a current concession you will need to be reporting each pay day through STP by this date.

If you haven’t started reporting through STP, you need to start reporting as soon as possible as penalties may apply.

Next steps:

Step 4. Software solutions for Single Touch Payroll

There is a wide range of Single Touch Payroll (STP) software solutions available for employers.

To report through STP you need to choose a solution that’s right for you and your business based on your own circumstances.

Micro employers

Micro employers with four or fewer employees can find no-cost and low-cost solutions for STPExternal Link. These solutions may include mobile apps, simple reporting solutions and portals.

To be eligible for this list, the solutions must:

  • be affordable (costing less than $10 per month)
  • take only minutes to complete each pay period
  • not require the employer to maintain the software.

Other employers

View the full STP product registerExternal Link to see the complete range of products offering varying degrees of functionality, support, and pricing models.

Software Option - Payroller

Single Touch Payroll

Free Payroll Software
Single Touch Payroll Software - Browser Main

Step 5. Purchase WorkCover Insurance

WorkCover Queensland
Accicdent Insurance

WorkCover’s Accident Insurance Policy covers you and your workers if a work-related injury or illness happens.

In Queensland, if you employ workers you must insure them against work-related injury or illness. Unless you’re a self-insurer, you need to take out a policy with WorkCover.

What’s covered?

This policy covers you if one of your workers experiences a work-related injury or illness and needs to claim workers’ compensation. This includes both no-fault statutory claims and damages (at-fault) claims. You can read more about these types of claim costs in the sections below.

Who is covered?

Your policy covers any workers you employ as defined in the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003. It covers workers employed by your business only. Any person you might hire to provide a service from another business is covered by their own employer.

If you’re a sole trader or a director or partner of your own business, or you’re employed by a Trust where you’re a trustee, you’re not considered a worker so you’re not covered by your accident insurance policy. You can take out Workplace Personal Injury Insurance to cover you if you’d like to, but it’s not compulsory.

Step 6. Provide employees Superannuation choice of fund

Superannuation standard choice form

This form is for employers to advise employees of the employer’s nominated fund, and for employees to tell an employer of their choice of fund (NAT 13080).

The standard choice form is for use by both employers and employees.


Use the form to offer eligible employees their choice of superannuation (super) fund. You must fill in the details of your nominated super fund, also known as your default fund, before giving the form to an employee.


Use the form to advise an employer of your choice of super fund. You need to provide the information requested so your employer can make contributions to your nominated super fund.

How to complete this form

Employees can access and complete pre-filled forms through either:

  • > ATO online services via myGov
    • – access the forms through the Employment menu
    • – the employer’s Australian business number (ABN) and their default fund’s unique – superannuation identifier (USI) will be needed to complete this form
  • > their employer’s employee commencement-enabled payroll software, if available.

Step 7. Pay Superannuation Guarantee Contribution if wages more than $450 per month

Super for employers

Superannuation is money employers must pay eligible workers to provide for their retirement.

Super guarantee (SG) is the minimum amount you must pay to avoid the super guarantee charge. Super guarantee is currently (2021/22) 10% of an employee’s ordinary time earnings.

In this section

Watch the video for more details about your super obligations:


Small Business Superannuation Clearing House provides easy payment option

Small Business Superannuation Clearing House

Eligible employers can pay super for their employees through the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House (‘the clearing house’).

On this page


You’re eligible to use the clearing house service if your business has either:

You must meet one of these eligibility criteria each time you use the clearing house. If you stop being eligible – for example, because you hire more than 19 employees – you will need to make other arrangements to pay employee super.

About the clearing house

The clearing house is a free online service provided by the Australian Government through the Australian Taxation Office.

You can use the clearing house to pay super for all your employees through a single payment. The clearing house will then distribute the money to each employee’s super fund according to your instructions.

With the clearing house, you can:

  • nominate a regular amount for each employee or change the amount when you make a payment
  • meet your super guarantee (SG) obligations when your payment and instructions are accepted by the clearing house by following the clearing house terms and conditions
  • pay online to meet SuperStream requirements
  • see records of your past super contributions.

Accessing the clearing house

If you have an ABN

You can access the clearing house through the ATO Business Portal:

  • select Manage employees in the left menu
  • select Small Business Superannuation Clearing House.

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