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Record keeping as an excise licence holder

Records to keep if your business holds an excise licence for alcohol.

Last updated 7 September 2023

Records you need to keep

As an excise licence holder, you need to know the record-keeping requirements for your alcohol business, including:

Keeping accurate and complete records will help you meet your tax obligations as well as manage your business and cash flow. It is also a legal requirement.

You need to:

  • keep the records required by us
  • keep the records for the period advised by us (generally 5 years)
  • make these records (and copies) available to us if we ask to see them.

If you cease to hold an excise licence, you must keep all records of your previous excisable alcohol business activities for the period advised on your licence.

You can contact us if you need further guidance or examples of appropriate records to meet your record-keeping requirements.

General records for your alcohol business

Most businesses that manufacture, produce, move or store excisable alcohol products need to keep complete and accurate records of:

Records of stocktake results

You need to keep the following records for each stocktake:

  • stocktake documents that reflect the stock counted and show the date of the stocktake
  • records that show the stock on hand that you used to compare to the stocktake document
  • documentation of the action taken, if needed, to correct any variance between the stocktake results and the stock-on-hand records
  • copies of the documentation created to meet movement permission conditions for moving underbond excisable goods or excise equivalent goods (EEGs) between excise or customs-licensed premises or to a place of export
  • approved applications for delivering excise duty-free samples and details of the approved samples delivered.

For more information, see Stock control.

Records of information in your excise return

You need to keep records that prove the information you include in your excise return.

Excise return – records and information to keep

Examples of types of records

Information your records need to show


  • Detailed invoices or other documents you may produce related to moving the product for an internal sale or use.
  • Copies of  
    • returns for which payment is made
    • claims for remission, refund or drawback.
  • Records of volume and strength testing.
  • Duty payment calculations.


Invoices should include:

  • a description of each excisable product
  • the number of packages
  • the volume of each container
  • alcohol content
  • the date of invoice or other document
  • the date of delivery
  • supplier and delivery addresses.


For more information on lodging your excise return, see Lodging and paying – excisable alcohol.

Records of refunds, remissions, and drawbacks

You need to keep the following information to prove any remission you have claimed or applied, and for your refund and drawback claims.

Refund records

You need to keep different records depending on which type of refund you claim.

For refunds for goods returned to a licensed premises or to a person authorised by the manufacturer, keep records that show:

  • when the excise duty was paid
  • when the goods were returned
  • what was returned
  • that the goods have been destroyed or used in further manufacture.

For refunds that were claimed under the excise refund scheme for alcohol manufacturers, keep records that show:  

  • details of the excise duty paid
  • you fermented or distilled at least 70% of the alcohol content of the product on which the refund is being claimed
  • you meet the requirements of still ownership, for distilled products.

You should also keep information that demonstrates that you were legally and economically independent of any other entity claiming the alcohol manufacturer refund. We may ask to see these records.

For information on how to claim, see Excise or refund or drawback.

Remission records

There are a number of remission types. You need to keep different records depending on which type you claim.

If you claim a remission where the product is no longer suitable for sale, you need to keep records that show:

  • the type of product
  • why the product was no longer suitable for sale
  • the date that the product became no longer suitable for sale
  • approval from us to destroy product
  • that you have destroyed the product.

If you apply a remission under the Excise remission scheme for manufacturers of alcoholic beverages you need to keep records that show:

  • you fermented or distilled at least 70% of the alcohol content of the beverage that you have manufactured and entered into the Australian domestic market on which the remission was applied
  • you meet the requirements of still ownership, for distilled products
  • you are legally and economically independent of any other entity that has applied the remission in the financial year.

For more information about the term 'legally and economically independent', see Excise Ruling ER 2023/1Excise: the meaning of 'legally and economically independent'.

If you supply alcohol under an automatic remission (that is, excise duty unpaid), you need to keep the:

  • orders on official stationery
  • Department of Defence form SP113 (orders from the Royal Australian Navy or Australian Military Forces).

These records need to show:

  • confirmation that orders are for official use
  • if the order is from diplomatic missions and consular posts, confirmation that the goods are for official or personal use.

Drawback records

If you submit an application for drawback of excise duty, you need to keep:

  • a document that indicates that excise duty was included in the purchase price
  • a copy of the bill of lading for the product being exported
  • evidence that the goods have been exported.

For information, see:

Records for excise storage places

If you hold an excise storage licence, you need to keep:

  • invoices and delivery documents that show details of the goods received on premises  
    • type and quantity of goods received
    • the date received
    • where the goods were received from
    • duty payments, if applicable
  • delivery documents that show goods dispatched  
    • type and quantity of goods dispatched
    • date of dispatch
    • where the goods were sent to
    • whether the goods were sent underbond
  • documents showing details of breakages and loss of products and any remissions claimed
  • documents showing stocktake results.