ato logo
Search Suggestion:

Illicit alcohol activities

Learn about our concerns with illicit alcohol and when duty is not paid.

Last updated 8 June 2023

We have increased our focus on alcohol products that reach retailers and consumers without customs or excise obligations being met. We look closely into activities where duty should have been paid but was not – this is 'illicit alcohol'.

We publish information on illicit alcohol activities to:

  • help you get things right
  • remain transparent
  • keep a level playing field.

We also want to make sure:

  • the system remains fair for businesses doing the right thing
  • the community isn't deprived of vital funds needed to support our economy and essential services.

We aim to share our concerns early to help businesses make informed decisions about their tax affairs.

There are several activities involving excisable alcohol that attract our attention. These activities are offences under the Excise Act 1901 (Excise Act) and penalties may apply.

These activities include:

  • unlicensed manufacture of excisable alcohol
  • licensed manufacture with unreported excise duty
  • selling duty-unpaid excisable alcohol
  • concessional spirits used for non-concessional purposes
  • incorrect refund, remission or drawback claims.

These activities are the main contributors to the Alcohol tax gap.

You can use our confidential reporting process to report suspected tax evasion. This will help keep the system fair.

For more information: