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How to do a group certificate

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PAYE Bulletin 12

This document has been Withdrawn

Date of Issue: 1 July 1999

Valid from 1 July 1999

About this bulletin

This bulletin provides information to enable employers to report their Group Certificate information by magnetic media.


The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) accepts the following media: · IBM compatible magnetic tape · IBM 3480 cartridge · IBM compatible floppy disks · DATs · IBM compatible ZIP disks · CDROMs

Note: Users must follow ATO standards for DATs, ZIPs, and CDROMs. If you are using these media and are unsure of the standards, call 1800 642 933 for more information.

Reporting Group Certificate information* on magnetic media

Employers can use magnetic media to report Group Certificate information provided they: · use a commercial software package authorised by the Tax Office; or · have developed in-house software authorised by the Tax Office; or · use a payroll service (such as a payroll bureau or a tax agent) which has a commercial or 'in-house' package authorised by the Tax Office.

Note: Employers who wish to develop their own software should call Business On-line Services on 1800 632 274.

Which software to use

Please ensure you are reporting Group Certificate information using the correct software. · Group Certificate reporting for the 1998/99 financial year is based on software specification Version 5 issued December 1997. · Group Certificate reporting for the 1999/2000 financial year is based on software specification Version 6 issued March 1999.

* Note: Employment Declaration information can also be reported by magnetic media.

Software authorisation

You may use a commercial payroll package purchased directly from a software supplier or 'over the counter' from a retailer. The software must meet our authorisation requirements.

If you are unsure whether the software package you have purchased is compliant with the current ATO standard, refer to information contained in the software package or contact the software developer.

Commercial software authorised by our computer control area should come with a letter from the Tax Office or Magnetic Information Processing Services (MIPS) confirming the software is authorised to report Group Certificate information by magnetic media. If your payroll package does not come with the letter from the ATO or MIPS, contact your supplier to determine whether your package has been authorised. You cannot report information by magnetic media with an unauthorised package. Contact us on 13 28 66 if you need further help.

Employers with 'in-house' software

Please ensure your 'in-house' software has been authorised and your plain paper Group Certificate has been approved. We are currently writing a separate bulletin on developing 'in-house' software which should be available shortly; however, information on the employer requirements of 'in-house' developers will remain the same as detailed in this bulletin.

Printing Group Certificates on plain paper

Commercial packages can be approved by us to print Group Certificates on plain paper. If that approval has been given, your payroll package should also come with a letter from us confirming that the software produces a Group Certificate that meets our printing requirements. Printed Group Certificates should be of 'letter quality print' or laser printed so they can be easily read. It is not necessary to get a separate approval for the ETP Group Certificate. If you do not have an approval letter, contact your supplier.

Note: Printing Group Certificates on plain paper is optional. You can still use our Group Certificates; however, printing on plain paper saves you money by being faster and easier.

If your package is both authorised and approved go to 'Other information you will need to know'.

If your package is authorised but not approved , read on.

Obtaining approval to print Group Certificates on plain paper

If you have contacted your supplier and found the software is authorised but not approved and you wish to print Group Certificates on plain paper, send us a sample of your proposed Group Certificate. We will approve your Group Certificate or advise you of any changes needed within 28 days. Contact the Tax Office at the correspondence address listed in your PAYE Employers' Payment Book or Quarterly Payment Package.

Other information you need to know

Tell us you are reporting information by magnetic media

You should contact us if you are reporting by magnetic media. We also need to know if you are printing your own Group Certificates. This is to update our records so we do not send you any Group Certificates in the future. Please call us on 13 28 66 or write to us.

You only need to register as a magnetic media client once. It is not necessary to re-register each year.

Employer Supplier Number

When downloading information from your payroll package on to your medium, the program will ask you for an eleven digit Supplier Number (in the third field). This is your eight digit PAYE account number preceded by three zeros (000). Your account number is shown on the first page of your PAYE Employers' Payment Book or Quarterly Payment Package.

Issue of Group Certificates during the year

If you are requested in writing by a departing employee to provide a Group Certificate during the year, and your package does not have the facility to do this, you may use a Tax Office Group Certificate. Alternatively, if you have an approved Group Certificate. you may keep some blank copies to use in these situations. To avoid duplication, be careful you do not issue another Group Certificate at the end of the year.

Name your 'Authorised Officer'

Legislation requires an employer to sign Group Certificates. however, we recognise that if you print a large volume of certificates this can be time consuming. You may print the name of your authorised officer on the self print Group Certificate.

Magnetic Media Information form and identification of media

Each medium used must contain only one type of data, e.g. one medium for Group Certificate data and another for Employment Declaration data.

Externally label each medium with the type of data it contains, e.g. for the 1999 reporting year, you should label the medium containing group certificate data with 'EA' or ' Group Certificate data 1999'.

When you send your media, attach the Magnetic Media Information form as shown at the back of this bulletin. Post or courier the form with your media.

Checking and return of media

We will process all media promptly. During processing, the data is checked for format compatibility and is also subjected to data quality testing. You will be contacted if the information fails any of these processes and provided with details of corrective action required. If a medium is rejected it will be returned to you for correction.

Reloading backup copies of data

You may need to reload data when the media you have sent is found to be corrupt, or you wish to access data for an employee who has lost a Group Certificate. If you have problems with this procedure, contact your software supplier for assistance.

Sending media

Mainframe tapes, cartridges and DATs

You should securely pack your mainframe tapes, cartridges and DATs and clearly mark them 'Do not X-Ray'. Send them by courier to:

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