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Record keeping in the primary production industry

Records you need to keep for your daily business transactions if you are a primary producer.

Last updated 23 August 2016

You need to keep records for your daily business transactions, including income, expense and employee records. Your records must:

  • explain all transactions
  • be in writing
  • be in English
  • be kept for five years (although some records need to be kept longer).

Special considerations

Primary producers have the same record keeping obligations as businesses. However, there are some special considerations for primary producers.

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Commercial fishing industry joint ventures

Some owners and skippers engaged in commercial fishing are eligible to form a joint venture for GST purposes. It is unlikely that crew members will meet the requirement for joint venture membership. You are required to obtain approval from us to operate a GST joint venture.

Only the GST joint venture operator pays GST and claims any credits. To ensure activity statements are accurate, other members of the venture must keep accurate records of their income and expenses for the operator to use.

Joint ventures are complex business arrangements and we recommend you seek professional advice when deciding if you should be part of a joint venture.

Farm management deposits scheme

You will need to keep records showing the amounts and when the deposits and withdrawals were made, and the amounts of tax deductions previously claimed.

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Fuel tax credits

To support fuel tax credit claims, you must keep records showing the type and quantity of fuel you acquired, when you acquired it and the business activities you use it in, such as whether it was for travelling on a public road or in other activities.

You must have records that show the activities of your business that support your actual claim.

Records that show your business activities include:

  • business expenses that relate to eligible activities
  • sales and production records
  • lease documents for agricultural land or equipment
  • share-farming contracts
  • vehicle and equipment use and maintenance records.

Records that support your claims for fuel tax credits include:

  • tax invoices for fuel you have acquired, including when it was acquired and the quantity
  • bank statements
  • records of how you used the fuel and any that was lost, stolen or otherwise disposed of
  • records showing how you have worked out your fuel tax credits – the worksheet we send you with your BAS is a useful record to keep.

For heavy diesel vehicles manufactured before 1 January 1996 and used on a public road, your records must show you meet one of the environmental criteria for heavy diesel vehicles. For example, you service your vehicle according to an approved maintenance schedule.

If you use farm vehicles mainly on an agricultural property to carry on a primary production business, you do not have to meet the criteria.

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Trading stock

You can choose to value trading stock at cost, market-selling value or replacement value. It is important to maintain up to date records showing how you value your stock. This is so you can report any profits or losses correctly because there are many concessions available to primary producers. These include:

  • Wool growers that defer profits on the sale of a wool clip from an advanced shearing caused by drought, fire or flood
  • insurance recoveries for loss of livestock may be included in assessable income in equal instalments over five years
  • Profit from forced disposal or death of livestock may be spread over five years (ten years if the forced disposal was for the control of bovine tuberculosis).

Stock killed for rations or exchanged for goods and services will be treated as if you disposed of the stock at cost.

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Wine equalisation tax

If you are a wine manufacturer you will usually have a wine equalisation tax (WET) liability and be required to collect and pay to the:

  • ATO if you supply the Australian domestic market
  • Department of Home Affairs if you import.

Exports of wine are not subject to WET.

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