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Payroll in Xero hooks up to the ATO

Posted 5 years ago in Advisors by Oliver Furniss
Posted by Oliver Furniss

Lodging your employees’ tax file number declarations with the Australian Tax Office has never been so seamless. As mentioned in May, we’re building an online tax product for the Australian market and this was one of the forms targeted for release early on. From today you can lodge your forms online, direct with the ATO from Payroll in Xero, anytime and from anywhere including a full audit history to capture who did what and when.

Lodging from Xero is a quick, secure way to meet your obligations with the benefits of:

  • reducing paperwork (there is no need to send paper forms to the ATO)
  • allowing you to lodge reports after hours, from anywhere
  • ensuring your forms are correctly completed with built in validations and checks
  • providing you with confirmation once your report is filed

Check out the video on ATO tax file number declaration filing:

In this release we have added the organisation name to text messages when authorising superannuation payments as this was a pain for administrators approving payments for multiple organisations. We’ve also added the Print button on Payroll reports to stop you having to download and open the PDF separately before printing. Sometimes it’s the small things.

Over the coming releases we’ll be rolling out improvements to payroll reports using feedback gathered directly from you. The biggest request we’ve heard was for the return of the previous Payroll Activity Summary layout and this was released in late May. It’s now called the Payroll Employee Summary report for those that may have missed it.

We’d love to hear what you think in the comments below or if you have suggestions for an existing feature or something new let us know in our feature requests section of Xero Community.

Find out more about our latest release


August 5, 2013 at 12.30 pm

When will New Zealand users get Payroll!!

Cassandra Scott
August 5, 2013 at 12.34 pm

Wow… is there no end to the awsome-ness of you guys 🙂

August 5, 2013 at 12.48 pm

Great stuff, one more ATO paper form for employers not to worry about.

August 5, 2013 at 2.24 pm

Love it! I have just setup 62 employees. This has just saved me heaps of time. Thanks!

Maureen Shelley
August 5, 2013 at 2.27 pm

Love the new ATO form lodgment. Very smooth. When are Purchase Orders coming?

August 5, 2013 at 2.32 pm

That’s a wonderful addition to Xero. We needed this….

August 5, 2013 at 2.44 pm

Sooo good, I was hoping this was being released soon!

Oliver Furniss
August 5, 2013 at 2.47 pm

@ Cassandra & Carl thanks for the feedback. It’s great for the teams to see this first hand from our customers.

@Jono we are currently building payroll for the US market and we’re always assessing expanding into other countries. Please make your voice heard in our Community feature request area –

Ashley Clemmett
August 5, 2013 at 2.53 pm

Another great new feature for a great accounting package

Sarah Jones
August 5, 2013 at 3.50 pm

Excellent to hear about the new improvements. We’ve just started using Xero (previously using MYOB) and a couple of features that would be great to have would be:
– Ability to attach back-up to manual journals in pdf or excel format
– Ability to create recurring journals

August 5, 2013 at 3.58 pm

Thanks xero!! A very welcome addition – and very timely (we have new staff starting today). Thanks.

Joel Hanna
August 5, 2013 at 4.05 pm

Very cool! I just took a new client through this. They were stoked on just how easy it was!

Zoran Dobrovoljni
August 5, 2013 at 6.03 pm

Great feature!! With regards to the existing employees, should we lodge them so they appear as filed?

Oliver Furniss
August 5, 2013 at 6.23 pm

@Sarah welcome to Xero and thanks for the feedback. Please make your voice heard in our Community feature request area and get your votes recorded.

@Gary, Joel & Ashley, Hassan & K-Diddy thanks for taking the time to share your feedback much appreciated.

@Zoran there is no need to lodge them for existing employees however there is nothing wrong with it if you want to make sure its a true reflection of their filing status.

August 5, 2013 at 7.49 pm

just when I was looking at this pile of paper and thinking what a ballache…thank you Mr Timing. You were right on time!

August 6, 2013 at 8.17 pm

Thanks Xero – have been with you guys from the start and you are just getting better… just changed over 3 of my Clients from MYOB – too easy.

Quick question – when will you guys (if ever? :-)) introduce tracking via Job Numbers. I remember reading a blog on this some time ago but can’t find it.. (I would have at least another 2 clients I could bring over if you did.
Thanks Xero … Amber

Wendy T
August 6, 2013 at 10.54 pm

Another great feature to show potential Xero clients and so easy.

August 6, 2013 at 11.50 pm

Sensational work. Thank you….. really cool feature

Greta Gilroy
August 7, 2013 at 1.19 pm

Question – do they still need to fill in a form so that their signature is on file – or has the whole need for a signature been taken away? I love this concept, just thought individual and company signatures played an important role in submitting legal docs…

Oliver Furniss
August 7, 2013 at 1.53 pm

@Amber thanks for the comment, Job Numbers has been asked for before but at this stage there is no estimated release timeframe. The best way to get your voice heard is in our Community –

@Wendy, Susie and Pierre thanks for the comments.

@Greta, the ATO specify what information you have to keep. All employee records, including tax file number declarations, must be kept for five years and they may be paper or electronic. We are looking at expanding the current online TFND feature to allow for payees to provide an electronic means to complete the TFN declaration. This would remove the current process, whereby the payer manually keys the completed payee TFN declaration information into Xero and must keep a copy. There is no timeframe on this at the moment.

Annita Bouletos
August 7, 2013 at 3.46 pm

Just fantastic!!! I have a new employee just started on Monday 5.8.13 and I will give it a go!!!

Darren @ Nicolangela
August 10, 2013 at 6.41 pm

Just used it for a new store sales staff. How easy was that!!!! Well done Xero.

August 12, 2013 at 7.58 pm

Love it, love it, love it!
Just sent some forms down the line, saved me heaps of time and trouble.

I love your work Xero team!

August 18, 2013 at 1.30 am

Hi, I have a question regarding the Payroll Employee Summary Report & the Payroll Activity Details report. Prior to this upgrade, both reports showed the from/to dates correctly ie. the start date and end date for the pay period. Since the upgrade these reports show both the from/to dates as the payment date and do not show the actual pay period dates anywhere. Is there any reason for this? Thanks.

Oliver Furniss
August 19, 2013 at 11.27 am

@Tanya, in response to your question we are aware of the change and this was due
to changing the look and feel of the reports to bring them in line with
the other payroll reports. We have received the same feedback from a few
customers and we are looking at adding the pay run dates in the next
release back onto the reports.

August 19, 2013 at 12.02 pm

Thanks @Oliver

October 4, 2013 at 2.01 pm

This functionality looks great!
I have a question about how you are submitting the Tax File Declaration form to the ATO?
According to the ATO website the only acceptable method to lodge electronic forms with them is using ECI or electronic media or through SBR – which method are you using?
I didn’t notice anywhere that you need to upload your AUSKEY digital certificate to lodge the forms. How are these being signed by the employer before being sent?

Oliver Furniss
October 4, 2013 at 2.12 pm

@Belinda, we use SBR to submit to the ATO and when you file within payroll you must accept the SBR terms of service and authority to file to allow for Xero to file the form on your behalf.

October 4, 2013 at 6.25 pm

@Oliver, thanks for getting back to me.
So that means that that Xero uses it own AUSKEY to lodge the Tax File Declaration form?

Andrew Purdam
July 27, 2015 at 4.27 pm

Don’t we still have to send the paper in anyway?

reign flint
October 23, 2016 at 3.54 pm

Great discussion , Coincidentally , if someone is interested a FL Form 159 , my company encountered a blank version here

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