When STP messages are submitted from your portal, the ABN is the unique value that the ATO uses to identify the paying entity for an employee.
Different entities can use the same ABN if they are registered for GST branching. An entity that registers a branch for GST purposes is referred to as the ‘parent entity’. A GST branch accounts for GST separately from its parent entity. For details on eligibility and registration, please see this ATO page.
As the parent entity and any GST branches will have the same ABN, each entity is configured in a portal with a unique Branch Number. This ensures that STP submissions are allocated to the correct payroll entity.
If branch numbers are not set for relevant entities, this can cause issues when STP events are submitted.
For example, an employee who is moved between two entities during the same financial year will have two STP Update Finalisation events. As there are no Branch Numbers to differentiate between the two events, the first submission will be overridden by the second when they are received by the ATO, based on the ABN.
Configure Branch Numbers for an Entity
To configure an entity in your portal with a branch number, you will first need to have branching enabled for that entity. Please contact our Support Team for assistance with this, confirming the relevant entities and the branch numbers (up to three integers) that you would like to have configured.
You will need to advise a separate branch number for each entity in your portal that needs to be configured.
When to Set Branch Numbers
IMPORTANT: Branch numbers should be set at the start of a financial year, and should be configured before you process any pays with a Payment Date that falls in that financial year.
STP data will be reported to the ATO using the configuration at the time that a submission is sent. This means that assigning a branch number in the middle of a financial year and/or after a pay has already been processed in a given financial year can cause issues with the STP data that you submit.
If this occurs, you will need to liaise directly with the ATO to rectify how your STP information has been reported; Astute Payroll is not able to support this process as the STP data being sent is correct and in line with the configuration of your portal.
Validate an Entity’s Branch Number Settings
The system will perform a number of validations to ensure that each of your entities is configured with its own ABN, or with a unique ABN and Branch Number combination.
- If your entity is not Registered for Branching, and you enter or edit the ABN, the system will check that there are no existing payroll entities with the same ABN.
- If your entity has been Registered for Branching by our team, the system will confirm that there are no existing payroll entities with the same combination of ABN and Branch Number. In this case, we'll be in touch if we identify any potential STP reporting issues.
To ensure that your STP data is reported consistently, the Registered for Branching checkbox and Branch Number field will lock after you submit your next STP event.
These fields will be read-only once an STP message has been sent to the ATO.