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How we respond to illicit alcohol

How we identify and respond to illicit alcohol activities.

Last updated 8 June 2023

Excise and excise equivalent goods activities

We have increased our focus on activities involving illicit alcohol, which are offences under the Excise Act 1901. We also work closely with the Department of Home Affairs – Australian Border ForceExternal Link for activities related to excise equivalent goods (EEGs) covered by the Customs Act 1901.

Wherever possible, we want to work with people and businesses to help them correct any mistakes and comply with their obligations.

We encourage you to contact us about excise on alcohol or excise equivalent goods (imports) early if you identify any mistakes or have concerns about whether you are meeting your obligations.

When we identify instances of these activities

We will contact people that we identify as engaging in illicit alcohol activities. We will advise what you need to do to rectify the situation and avoid further compliance action by us.

Penalties and other consequences may apply to participants in, and promoters of, these types of activities. However, consequences vary depending on whether the action was done with negligence, knowledge, or intent.

If we find that the activity was done with knowledge or intent, more serious penalties and other sanctions under criminal law may apply, including imprisonment.

Registered tax agents involved in the promotion of these types of activities may be referred to the Tax Practitioners BoardExternal Link which can lead to deregistration.

We will ensure the most serious offenders are brought to justice.

How to report tax evasion

If you are aware of anyone who is engaging in tax evasion activities, we encourage you to report it to us by making a tip-off.

You can also find the ATO tip-off form in the Help & support section of the ATO app.

The reporting process is confidential. It will help us support the Australian community and retain fairness in the excise system.

For more information, see What attracts our attention – illicit alcohol.