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  • Alcohol tax gap 2017-18

    This information is for historical purposes only. If you require previously published content for past estimates, please email

    In this document, you'll find information about estimating the alcohol tax gap. This gap forms a part of our overall tax performance program. It is the first year we have measured this gap.

    The alcohol tax gap includes excise and customs duties. It does not include wine equalisation tax, as we publish a separate Wine equalisation tax gap.

    For the purposes of estimating this gap we look at all entities who are required to pay these amounts. This can incorporate a wide range of entities whose obligations arise in one of two ways, from either:

    • delivering excisable alcohol products into the Australian domestic market for home consumption (domestic production)
    • importing excise equivalent goods into Australia.

    We also examine entities who are not meeting their obligations, such as through unlicensed manufacture. It is these entities that create the gap.

    The domestic population is identified through excise returns and claims, while the importing population is identified through customs data. A large portion of the total population consists of entities without Australian business numbers (ABNs) who are predominantly individuals importing alcohol (67%). However, they contribute very little to overall tax, at less than 0.1% for 2017–18.

    For 2017–18, we estimate a net alcohol tax gap of 9.6%, or $596 million. Viewed from the reverse this means that just over 90%, or nearly $5.6 billion, of the total theoretical tax payable was paid in 2017–18.

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      Last modified: 11 May 2022QC 69510