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  • Duty-free operator return

    How to complete the duty-free operator return form.

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    When to use this form

    Use this form if you operate a duty-free store:

    • at an airport – to report stocktake shortages or surpluses of excisable alcohol goods
    • outside of an airport – to report missed or found dockets and stocktake shortages or surpluses of excisable alcohol goods
    • and you also hold a licence to store excisable alcohol goods at a site that is not a duty-free store – to report any shortages or surpluses of stock at your storage site.

    If you're unsure whether you need to pay excise or customs duty on alcohol goods you have in stock, check the permission you use to move the alcohol goods to your duty-free store for details.

    You need to lodge a return every month, within 21 working days after the end of each month, even if you have nothing to report.

    Make sure you keep records, including any information you receive from Duty Free Security Company Limited.

    The return form

    The Duty-free operator return form is designed to be completed on a desktop or laptop computer (not on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet). You'll need to use Adobe ReaderExternal Link software to view the form.

    Because this is an electronic form, you can type your answers straight into the boxes provided.

    Some questions will only be displayed if we need you to answer them. If you want to see all the questions before filling in the form, select the Print form with all questions button to print a copy.

    How to get the form

    Double-clicking the form won't open it. The form will not load on a mobile device, tablet or within a browser.

    To complete the form, you must save it to your desktop computer or laptop (with the latest version of Adobe Acrobat installed) by following these steps:

    • To download, right click on Duty-free operator return (NAT 10405, PDF 1.4MB)This link will download a file.
    • Select Save target as (or a similar option depending on your internet browser) to save it to your computer.
    • To open your saved form, right click on the PDF file in the folder it was saved in, select Open with then select Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.
    • Enable JavaScript if prompted before filling in the form. If JavaScript is not enabled, additional questions will not be populated and the form will be incomplete.
    • Once you've completed your form, save it using the Save form button at the end of the form.

    Note: Update your default app for PDF file types to Adobe Acrobat Reader DC to open all PDF files with Adobe Acrobat.

    Instructions for completing the return form

    These instructions will help you complete the Duty-free operator return form.

    Your details

    Question 1

    Provide the legal name of the person or business liable to pay excise duty. Do not provide a business name if it's different to the legal name.

    Question 2

    It's not compulsory to provide your Australian business number (ABN), however it will help us process your return quickly.

    If you operate your business as a trust, enter the ABN of the trustee in its capacity as trustee for the trust.

    Question 3

    Your client account number is a three-digit number (for example, 001) that is linked to your ABN. This number is used to identify your excise account with us.

    Question 4

    Provide the name, street address and establishment number of your duty-free shop or related warehouse.

    Return details

    You need to report shortages, surpluses, missed or found dockets for the following:

    • Alcohol goods that are produced or manufactured in Australia and are subject to excise.
    • Imported alcohol goods that have undergone a process of manufacture or production in Australia. For example, high strength imported whisky which has been reduced by adding water (in Australia) before it is bottled, constitutes manufacture or production for excise purposes. Vodka imported in bulk and repackaged in Australia, does not constitute manufacture for excise purposes.

    You don’t need to report other imported alcohol goods (excluding wine, which is generally subject to wine equalisation tax [WET]). These goods are subject to customs duty and are listed at Chapter 22 of Schedule 3External Link of the Customs Tariff Act 1995.

    Question 5

    If you have done a stocktake during the month, report the results of your stocktake on Attachment 1 on the return or you can provide your own documentation.

    If you provide your own report, you need to include the following details about any short or surplus stock, including:

    • product type (for example, bottles)
    • product brand name
    • package size of the product (for example, 1 litre)
    • quantity of goods short or surplus.

    Note: If you have surplus stock after reconciliation of your stock records, it must be taken back into to your stock records.

    Question 6

    If you have stock shortages from your stocktake, complete Attachment 2 on the return or provide your own documentation to report the shortages.

    You can offset any stock surpluses against your stock shortages on a dollar duty basis. To work out the excise shortfall or surplus, use the excise duty rate that is current at the date of your calculation.

    Note: Excise duty cannot be offset against GST or customs duty.

    If you provide your own report for stock shortages and any surpluses for offsetting, you need to include:

    • product type (for example, rum or brandy)
    • product brand name
    • quantity short or surplus in litres
    • quantity short or surplus in litres of alcohol (LALs)
    • excise duty on the quantity short or surplus.

    Question 7

    You need to complete Attachment 3 on the return or provide your own report for any:

    • missed dockets
    • dockets found after they were reported as missed.

    The tariff code and excise rates are available at excise duty rates for alcohol. When you fill in the form online, the excise payable is calculated for you.

    If you provide your own report, include the following details about the traveller's missed or found dockets:

    • docket number
    • traveller's departure date
    • traveller's name
    • description of the goods
    • measurement unit of the goods (for example, bottles)
    • bottle or pack size
    • excise tariff code applicable to the goods
    • quantity in litres of alcohol (LALs)
    • excise rate for the goods when they were delivered to the traveller (this is the rate you use to calculate the excise amount payable)
    • excise amount payable for the goods.

    Excise duty summary

    This section only applies if you have stock shortages or any missed or found dockets.

    If you report your details online in the attachments we have provided, any excise duty that you owe or have overpaid will be calculated for you. If you use any of your own reports you'll need to enter in the amounts.

    Total amount owing or overpaid

    If there is an overall debit, the amount shown as the total amount is the amount you must pay to us.

    If there is an overall credit, state which of the following payment methods you would prefer:

    • refund the amount (by cheque or electronic funds transfer [EFT])
    • apply the amount to an existing or future liability.

    The amount you receive may differ from the total amount calculated. This will occur when it is necessary to make adjustments for other tax debts or some Australian Government debts.

    Bank account details

    Complete this section if you expect to receive a refund of excise duty. The bank account must be held in the name of the person or business that paid the excise duty.


    You, or a person who is authorised to act on your behalf (an authorised contact), must complete the declaration. If the applicant is an entity, the declaration can only be completed by a primary contact or a person authorised by a primary contact.

    If you lodge this application through Online services for business, your electronic credential will be accepted as your electronic signature.

    Lodging your return

    Before you lodge your return, make sure you have completed all the relevant sections.

    Keep a copy of your completed return for your records and lodge the original through:

    • secure mail in Online services for business
    • mail to

    Australian Taxation Office
    PO Box 3007
    PENRITH  NSW  2740

    Lodge through Online services for business

    If you use Online services for business to lodge your return, it is more secure and will be processed faster than if you lodge by mail.

    Follow these steps to lodge via secure mail in Online services for business:

    1. Fill in the return
    2. Save the completed return as a PDF to your computer
    3. Log into Online services for business
    4. Select Communication, then Secure mail
    5. Create a New message
    6. Select View more topics from the Topic list
    7. Select Excise from the Other topics list
    8. Select Excise returns from the Subject list
    9. Attach the return and any attachments
    10. Provide your contact details and complete the declaration
    11. Select Send.

    You will receive a receipt number once you've lodged your return.

    Tracking your return progress

    You can track the progress of your return in Online services for business.

    Select Your dealings from the Communications menu.

    Service standards

    You can expect your return to be processed within 28 days of us receiving all the necessary information.

    If your return is incomplete, we will contact you for more information. If the information isn't provided after a reasonable period, you must relodge your return.

    Contact us

    If you need more information, you can contact us or visit Excise on alcohol.

    Last modified: 30 Nov 2022QC 20086