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  • Concessional spirits

    Spirits are free of excise duty if they are:

    • used for approved concessional purposes (you may still need a permit to buy these spirits)
    • denatured (made unfit for human consumption and aren't for use in an internal combustion engine).

    Concessional spirits are typically very high strength (around 96% alcohol by volume), for example methylated spirits.

    You generally need a permit or licence from us to:

    • use spirits for concessional purposes
    • buy spirits that have been denatured using a formula not approved by us
    • supply end users directly from someone else's excise-licensed premises
    • resell concessional spirits.

    Regulations concerning the safe and proper handling, storage, transport and use of dangerous goods such as spirit, are governed by other relevant local, state and federal bodies. You will need to contact the relevant body in your state or territory for further information.

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    Using spirits for concessional purposes

    You can use concessional spirits for approved industrial, manufacturing, scientific, medical, veterinary or educational purposes, such as to:

    • fortify Australian wine or grape must
    • manufacture
      • medicines, including vaccines
      • essences and flavours
      • mouthwashes
      • printing inks
      • foodstuffs
    • sterilise equipment
    • preserve specimens.

    Resale of concessional spirits is not an approved use. If you want to resell concessional spirits, you must have an excise licence.

    To use concessional spirits for approved purposes you generally need to apply for a concessional spirit permit.

    Certain professionals and institutions can use quantities of concessional spirits for approved purposes without needing a concessional spirit permit:

    • health care practitioners
    • veterinary practitioners
    • medical, government and educational institutions.

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    See also:

    • Wine fortification
    • EXC 2014/2 Excise (Concessional spirits – class of persons) Determination 2014 (No. 1)
    • EXC 2016/6 Excise concessional spirit approvals guidelines 2016 (No. 2)
    • EXC 2020/1 Excise (Spirit blending exemptions) Determination 2020 (No. 1)

    Buying denatured spirit

    You do not need a permit to buy a denatured spirit if it:

    • has been denatured using a formula approved by us, and
    • won't be used as fuel in an internal combustion engine.

    You do need a permit to buy denatured spirit if it has been denatured using a formula that is not approved by us.

    Methylated spirits is the most common example of a denatured spirit.

    See also:

    • EXC 2016/10 Excise (Denatured spirits) Determination 2016 (No. 3)

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    Last modified: 15 Sep 2020QC 63549