Excise guidelines for the alcohol industry

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06 PAYMENT OF DUTY

6.1 PURPOSE

6.2 INTRODUCTION

6.3 POLICY AND PRACTICE

6.3.1 WHEN IS DUTY PAYABLE?

6.3.2 WHEN IS DUTY PAYABLE UNDER A PERIODIC SETTLEMENT PERMISSION?

6.3.3 WHEN IS DUTY PAYABLE UNDER PREPAYMENT OF EXCISE DUTY?

6.3.4 WHEN IS DUTY NOT PAYABLE?

6.3.5 HOW DO I WORK OUT THE AMOUNT OF DUTY TO PAY?

6.3.6 RULES FOR MEASURING VOLUME AND ALCOHOLIC STRENGTH

6.3.7 WHAT DO I DO IF I HAVE A DISPUTE AS TO THE DUTY?

6.3.8 DO I HAVE TO ACCOUNT FOR EXCISABLE ALCOHOL PRODUCTS?

6.3.9 STOCK MANAGEMENT

6.4 PROCEDURES

6.4.1 HOW DO I GET A PERIODIC SETTLEMENT PERMISSION (PSP)?

6.4.2 WHAT DOES MY PSP INCLUDE?

6.4.3 WHAT MUST I DO TO DELIVER ALCOHOL PRODUCTS INTO THE AUSTRALIAN DOMESTIC MARKET?

6.4.4 HOW DO I LODGE EXCISE RETURNS AND PAY EXCISE DUTY?

6.4.5 WHAT DO I DO IF I HAVE MADE AN ERROR ON MY EXCISE RETURN?

6.4.6 WHAT DO I DO IF I NEED MORE INFORMATION?

6.5 WHAT PENALTIES CAN APPLY TO OFFENCES IN RELATION TO PAYMENT OF DUTY?

6.6 TERMS USED

6.7 LEGISLATION (quick reference guide)

6.1 PURPOSE

This chapter deals with:

  • when duty is payable
  • when duty is payable under periodic settlement
  • when duty is payable under prepayment of excise duty
  • when duty is not payable
  • how to work out the amount of duty you're liable to pay, including tariff proposals and quotas
  • whether you have to account for excisable alcohol products
  • how to get a Periodic settlement permission (PSP)
  • what your PSP will include
  • what to do to deliver alcohol products into the Australian domestic market
  • how to lodge excise returns and pay excise duty
  • what to do if you have made an error on your excise return, and
  • penalties that can apply to offences in relation to payment of duty.

6.2 INTRODUCTION

Excise duty is imposed at the time of manufacture of excisable alcohol products . [113] However, the duty is not required to be paid at the time of manufacture.

This chapter focuses on the payment of duty and when and how much duty is payable.

To ensure the duty is ultimately acquitted, excisable alcohol products remain subject to our control until they are delivered :

  • into the Australian domestic market , or
  • for export to a place outside Australia. [114]

The liability for duty, imposed at the time of manufacture, can be acquitted by:

  • payment of the duty
  • export of the goods
  • remission, or
  • use of the goods in the manufacture of other excisable goods.

Alternatively the liability can be transferred with the goods if they are sold while underbond.

6.3 POLICY AND PRACTICE

6.3.1 WHEN IS DUTY PAYABLE?

When the liability for duty becomes payable depends on how authority is given to deliver the excisable alcohol products into the Australian domestic market. Authority to deliver excisable alcohol products into the Australian domestic market can be given on a continuing basis, known as a periodic settlement permission (PSP), [115] or on an ad hoc basis, known as prepayment of duty. [116]

6.3.2 WHEN IS DUTY PAYABLE UNDER A PERIODIC SETTLEMENT PERMISSION?

Under a PSP the duty is paid after the excisable alcohol products are delivered into the Australian domestic market.

To understand when the duty is paid in the case of periodic settlement requires an understanding of what the permission is and what your obligations are under such permission.

A PSP allows you to report deliveries and to pay duty on a periodic basis after the goods have been delivered into the Australian domestic market. [117] Periodic settlement is the most common arrangement for the delivery of goods into the Australian domestic market.

You may apply for a PSP that covers any recurring seven-day reporting period. [118] You may specify in your application the 7 day period you wish to use, for example, Wednesday to Tuesday. [119] The application must be made in the approved form. [120]

You may apply for a monthly PSP if you are either:

  • a small business entity or eligible business entity; [121] or
  • included in a particular class of business or you deliver goods that are of a particular kind. [122]

The class of business or particular kind of goods must be prescribed in the Excise Regulation. The Excise Regulation does not currently prescribe any class of business and there are no goods prescribed relevant to alcohol.

From 1 July 2016, a 'small business entity' [123] is a business with an aggregated turnover for the previous year of less than $10 million or is likely to have an aggregated turnover for the current year of less than $10 million.

From 1 July 2021, an 'eligible business entity' [124] is a business with an aggregated turnover for the previous year of more than $10 million but less than $50 million, or is likely to have an aggregated turnover for the current year of more than $10 million but less than $50 million.

A PSP is given in writing and includes:

  • your name as the holder of the PSP
  • the kind of goods to which the PSP applies
  • the place from which the goods may be delivered
  • the start date of the PSP and whether it is for a seven-day or monthly period; and
  • any special requirements of the periodic settlement. [125]

In considering your application for a PSP we will take into account various issues including compliance with the law and the protection of the excise revenue. We will also consider whether you have complied with the requirements of any previous permission you have been given. If we refuse to give a PSP we will issue you a notice in writing setting out the reasons for the refusal. [126]

A decision we make in relation to the period of a PSP or any condition for a PSP is a reviewable decision. [127]

For information about your review rights refer to Chapter 8 - Reviews and objections.

If you have a seven-day PSP, you must:

  • lodge an excise return, on the due date specified in your PSP (ie the first business day following the end of the seven-day period). The return details the goods you have delivered into the Australian domestic market during the settlement period. [128]
  • pay the duty, on the first business day following the end of the seven-day period, on the goods you have delivered within the settlement period. [129]

A 'business day' is a day that is not a Saturday or Sunday or a public holiday in the place where you lodge your return. [130]

If you have a monthly PSP the same requirements apply however you must give your return and pay any excise duty on or before the 21st day of the month following the end of the monthly period. [131]

We may also determine a different PSP period if:

  • you do not have any excise duty to pay; [132] or
  • you are an eligible business entity and have a PSP for a monthly period and have advised us in writing that the business has ceased to be an eligible business entity; [133] or
  • the business is included in a particular class of business and have a PSP for a monthly period and have advised us in writing that the business has ceased to be included in the class. [134]

The class of business must be prescribed in the Excise Regulation. The Excise Regulation does not currently prescribe any such businesses.

If we determine a different PSP period we will advise you in writing that your PSP is revoked from the day specified in the notice. We will give you another PSP for a seven-day period. [135]

If you advise us in writing that you wish to change the period of your PSP, we may, in writing, revoke your current PSP and give you permission for the preferred period. We will notify you of the day the change comes into effect. [136]

You do not need to have an excise licence to have a PSP.

Example 6A

Buy Me Pty Ltd does not hold an excise licence. A licensed manufacturer manufactures excisable alcohol products for Buy Me under contract. Under the terms of the contract, Buy Me has title to the goods from the time of manufacture and will pay the excise duty.

Buy Me applies for and is granted a PSP.

The PSP is for the period Monday to Sunday. Therefore, Buy Me is able to arrange delivery of excisable alcohol products into the Australian domestic market and defer payment of excise duty, on those goods, until after the end of that period. On the first business day after the end of the period (i.e. Monday, unless it is a public holiday in which case it will be due on Tuesday) Buy Me must lodge an excise return for any excisable alcohol products delivered during the period and pay the excise duty owing on those goods.

We will send Buy Me written confirmation, after the excise return has been processed.

6.3.3 WHEN IS DUTY PAYABLE UNDER PREPAYMENT OF EXCISE DUTY?

Under prepayment, the duty is paid before the excisable alcohol products are delivered into the Australian domestic market.

If you do not hold a PSP, you must receive a Delivery authority from us before you are allowed to deliver the excisable alcohol products into the Australian domestic market. We require you to pay any applicable duty before we give you a Delivery authority . To request a Delivery authority you need to lodge an excise return (NAT 4285).

That is, you must:
  • lodge an excise return
  • pay the relevant duty, and
  • receive a Delivery authority from us. [137]

You must not deliver excisable alcohol products into the Australian domestic market before receiving the Delivery authority .

6.3.4 WHEN IS DUTY NOT PAYABLE?

There are circumstances in which no duty will be payable. These include where:

  • goods are classified to an item or subitem with a FREE rate of duty
  • goods are exported
  • a remission circumstance applies, or
  • excisable alcohol products that are subject to our control are used in the manufacture of other excisable alcohol products.

6.3.5 HOW DO I WORK OUT THE AMOUNT OF DUTY TO PAY?

To work out how much duty you need to pay you will need to:

  1. check whether your alcohol products are excisable alcohol products according to the Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act [138] and identify the correct duty rate
  2. work out the volume of alcohol subject to duty, in each tariff subitem, that you deliver into the Australian domestic market

    1. Total volume × (strength - 1.15%) [139] = dutiable litres of alcohol for beer
    2. Total volume × strength = dutiable litres of alcohol for all other excisable alcohol products
  3. multiply the dutiable litres of alcohol by the rate of duty on the excisable alcohol products, and
  4. add up the total for each subitem to work out total duty to be paid.

Further information on these steps is set out below:

(i) Classifying excisable alcohol products

The Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act lists those goods that, if manufactured or produced in Australia, are subject to excise. The Schedule also contains the rate of duty applicable to the goods. For excisable alcohol products the relevant part of the Schedule as of 5 August 2019 is:

 

Tariff Item

Sub item

Unit

Description of Goods

Rate

 

1

 

 

Beer

 

 

1.1

LAL

Beer not exceeding 3% by volume of alcohol packaged in:

  1. (a) an individual container of less than 8 litres; or
  2. (b) an individual container:
    1. (i) of at least 8 litres but not exceeding 48 litres; and
    2. (ii) not designed to connect to a pressurised gas delivery system, pump delivery system or other system prescribed by the regulations

$43.53 per litre of alcohol calculated on that alcohol content by which the percentage by volume of alcohol of the goods exceeds 1.15

 

1.2

LAL

Beer not exceeding 3% by volume of alcohol packaged in:

  1. (a) an individual container exceeding 48 litres; or
  2. (b) an individual container:
    1. (i) of at least 8 litres but not exceeding 48 litres; and
    2. (ii) designed to connect to a pressurised gas delivery system, pump delivery system or other system prescribed by the regulations

$8.71 per litre of alcohol calculated on that alcohol content by which the percentage by volume of alcohol of the goods exceeds 1.15

 

1.5

LAL

Beer exceeding 3% but not exceeding 3.5% by volume of alcohol packaged in:

  1. (a) an individual container of less than 8 litres; or
  2. (b) an individual container:
    1. (i) of at least 8 litres but not exceeding 48 litres; and
    2. (ii) not designed to connect to a pressurised gas delivery system, pump delivery system or other system prescribed by the regulations

$50.70 per litre of alcohol calculated on that alcohol content by which the percentage by volume of alcohol of the goods exceeds 1.15

 

1.6

LAL

Beer exceeding 3% but not exceeding 3.5% by volume of alcohol packaged in:

  1. (a) an individual container exceeding 48 litres; or
  2. (b) an individual container:
    1. (i) of at least 8 litres but not exceeding 48 litres; and
    2. (ii) designed to connect to a pressurised gas delivery system, pump delivery system or other system prescribed by the regulations

$27.26 per litre of alcohol calculated on that alcohol content by which the percentage by volume of alcohol of the goods exceeds 1.15

 

1.10

LAL

Beer exceeding 3.5% by volume of alcohol packaged in:

  1. (a) an individual container of less than 8 litres; or
  2. (b) an individual container:
    1. (i) of at least 8 litres but not exceeding 48 litres; and
    2. (ii) not designed to connect to a pressurised gas delivery system, pump delivery system or other system prescribed by the regulations

$50.700 per litre of alcohol calculated on that alcohol content by which the percentage by volume of alcohol of the goods exceeds 1.15

 

1.11

LAL

Beer exceeding 3.5% by volume of alcohol packaged in:

  1. (a) an individual container exceeding 48 litres; or
  2. (b) an individual container:
    1. (i) of at least 8 litres but not exceeding 48 litres; and
    2. (ii) designed to connect to a pressurised gas delivery system, pump delivery system or other system prescribed by the regulations

$35.71 per litre of alcohol calculated on that alcohol content by which the percentage by volume of alcohol of the goods exceeds 1.15

 

1.15

LAL

Beer not exceeding 3% by volume of alcohol produced for non-commercial purposes using commercial facilities or equipment

$3.06 per litre of alcohol calculated on that alcohol content by which the percentage by volume of alcohol of the goods exceeds 1.15

 

1.16

LAL

Beer exceeding 3% by volume of alcohol produced for non-commercial purposes using commercial facilities or equipment

$3.53 per litre of alcohol calculated on that alcohol content by which the percentage by volume of alcohol of the goods exceeds 1.15

2

 

LAL

Other excisable beverages not exceeding 10% by volume of alcohol

$85.87 per litre of alcohol

 

3

 

 

Spirits; Other excisable beverages exceeding 10% by volume of alcohol

 

 

3.1

LAL

Brandy

$80.20 per litre of alcohol

 

3.2

LAL

Other excisable beverages exceeding 10% by volume of alcohol

$85.87 per litre of alcohol

 

 

3.5

LAL

Spirit that:

  1. a person has an approval, under section 77FD of the Excise Act 1901 , to use for fortifying Australian wine or Australian grape must; and
  2. is otherwise covered by the approval

Free

 

 

3.6

LAL

Spirit that:

  1. is for use by a person who is included in a class of persons determined under section 77FE of the Excise Act 1901 ; and
  2. if a quantity is specified in a determination under that section in relation to the person - does not exceed that quantity; and
  3. is for an industrial, manufacturing, scientific, medical, veterinary or educational purpose

Free

 

 

3.7

LAL

Spirit that:

  1. a person has an approval, under section 77FF of the Excise Act 1901 , to use for an industrial, manufacturing, scientific, medical, veterinary or educational purpose; and
  2. is otherwise covered by the approval

Free

 

 

3.8

LAL

Spirit denatured according to a formula determined under section 77FG of the Excise Act 1901 , other than spirit for use as fuel in an internal combustion engine

Free

 

3.10

LAL

Spirits not elsewhere included

$85.87 per litre of alcohol

You can find the current excise rates of duty, along with those applicable pre 5 August 2019 on our website .

(ii) Working out quantities of excisable alcohol products

Duty for excisable alcohol products is levied on the quantity of alcohol in the goods and not on the quantity of the goods themselves (e.g. you do not pay duty on the water contained within the product).

Alcohol quantity is measured in litres of alcohol (Lals), which is calculated by measuring the total volume and multiplying it by the strength, after taking into consideration the rules for measuring volume and strength (see section 6.3.6 below).

Example 6B

Bottler Brandies manufacturers high quality brandy for the Australian market.

The dutiable quantity of alcohol in 100 cartons, each containing 12 × 700 ml bottles of brandy, at 37.2% alcohol by volume is:

100 × 12 × 0.7 = 840.0 litres × 37.2% = 312.48 Lals

Example 6C

Bottler Brandies also manufactures brandy, which is used to manufacture brandy and cola (RTD) in 250 ml, bottles for the Australian market.

The dutiable quantity of alcohol in 400 bottles at 5% alcohol by volume is:

400 × 0.25 = 100 litres × 5% = 5.00 Lals

Example 6D

Bevy Brewing manufactures a boutique beer for the Australian market.

The rates of duty for beer specify that duty only applies to the amount of alcohol calculated on the alcohol content above 1.15%. We refer to this amount as the dutiable quantity of beer. The dutiable quantity of alcohol in 100 litres of beer at 5% alcohol by volume is:

100 × (5% - 1.15%) = 3.85 Lals

6.3.6 Rules for measuring volume and alcoholic strength

To work out your alcoholic quantity for excise duty purposes, you should determine the alcoholic volume and strength based on what the volume and strength would have been if the alcohol was measured at a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. [140] Conversion tables (Practical alcohol tables volume 1, Commission of the European Communities) allow alcoholic strength, as measured by alcoholmeters or alcohol hydrometers, to be converted to the 20 degree Celsius standard.

Legislation allows us to make rules for the measurement of volume and alcoholic strength of excisable goods. [141] These rules are detailed in two legislative determinations and ensure an acceptable degree of accuracy exists in the measurement of volume and strength. They also provide you with certainty that if your procedures and practices comply, then you will be paying the correct amount of duty.

(i) Excise (Volume - Alcoholic excisable goods) Determination 2019

This determination provides guidance on the following key areas of volume measurement:

Sampling and analysis

Sufficient samples must be taken from each production or packaging run to ensure the average fill volume of the samples taken accurately reflects the average fill volume of all the containers.

Measuring and equipment

The volume of alcoholic excisable goods must be measured in accordance with legal requirements pertaining to measurements and must consistently produce an accurate result.

The National Measurement Institute (NMI) website provides information on volume measurement and if required the NMI should be contacted for further information.

Permitted variations

Permitted variations in filling volume for alcoholic goods depend on whether or not the goods are packaged in a bulk container (i.e. a container that has the capacity to have packaged in it more than 2 litres of liquid).

BULK CONTAINER
Volume of contentsDutiable volume
Not nominatedActual volume
Nominated and: 
- actual volume does not exceed 101% of the nominated volumeNominated volume
- actual volume exceeds 101% of the nominated volumeActual volume

NOT A BULK CONTAINER
Volume of contentsDutiable volume
Not indicated on the containerActual volume
Is indicated on the container: 
- actual volume does not exceed 101.5% of the indicated volumeIndicated volume
- actual volume exceeds 101.5% of the indicated volumeActual volume

Example 6E

Bottler Brandies needs 100 cartons of brandy to fill an urgent order. As they have no packaged product in stock, they need to bottle some brandy. They use a flow meter to transfer 850 litres of brandy to their bottling tank.

Just prior to commencing the bottling operation, they use a calibrated dip stick to check the volume of brandy in the bottling tank. It contains 850 litres. They also check the temperature of the brandy in the bottling tank. It is 18 degrees Celsius. Using their conversion tables, they calculate that the actual volume of brandy in the bottling tank, at 20 degrees Celsius, is 850.85 litres.

During the bottling run, samples are taken and tested by weighing bottles that had earlier been weighed empty and their weights recorded. The average volume of the bottles tested was found to be 705 ml at a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius.

Volume stated on label 700 ml

Actual volume 705 ml

Difference between labelled and actual volume 5 ml = 0.7%

As this product is not packaged in a bulk container, the tolerance for this product is 1.5%. Therefore, the volume of brandy within each bottle is accepted as being 700 ml for this production run (i.e. based on indicated volume, as actual volume did not exceed the 1.5% tolerance).

Example 6F

Bevy Brewing has completed a racking run of 10 kegs of beer.

Each of the kegs has been endorsed with a weight when empty. The actual volume of each keg has been determined by weight and the average volume found to be 52 litres.

In their records, they have nominated that their kegs will be filled with 50 litres.

Nominated volume 50 litres

Actual volume 52 litres

Difference between nominated and actual volume 2 litres = 4%

As this product is packaged in a bulk container, the tolerance for the product is 1%. Therefore, the volume of beer within each keg is accepted as being 52L (i.e. based on actual volume, as the actual volume exceeded the tolerance of 1%)

(ii) Excise (Alcoholic strength of Excisable Goods) Determination 2019

This determination provides guidance on the following key areas of alcoholic strength measurement:

Sampling and analysis

The alcoholic strength must be measured using samples of the alcoholic excisable goods after it has reached its final alcoholic strength.

The following table summarises the point at which strength sampling must occur.

Type of productTime of strength measurement
Packaged alcoholic excisable goodsEither:
  • in the header vessel immediately prior to packaging; or
  • directly from the packaging line
Bulk excisable goodsAny point in time after final alcoholic strength is reached.
Non-commercial beer produced at a BOPSObtained from the test brew of each recipe.

Strength should be re-established where there has been a change to the recipe.

Where sampling is required, sufficient samples must be taken to ensure an accurate actual strength is established.

  • is taken to be the average of the strength of all the sample measurements for that particular alcoholic excisable good;
  • is to be expressed as a percentage, if the alcohol were measured at 20 degrees Celsius; and
  • when calculating volume by reference to the specific gravity of alcohol, the calculation is to be made on the basis that the specific gravity of alcohol in relation to water is 0.79067 (based on a temperature of 20°C and in a vacuum).

Measuring and equipment

The instruments used to measure the alcoholic strength of alcoholic excisable goods, including hydrometers, thermometers and weighing instruments, must conform to legal requirements pertaining to measurement.

The methods that may be used are:

  • gas chromatography;
  • near infra-red spectrometry;
  • distillation followed by the gravimetric measurement of the distillate or by measurement in a density meter; or
  • any other method that consistently produces a similar result by a documented testing process.

Alcohol manufacturers producing less than 100,000 litres of fermented beverages (including beer) in a financial year may use a hydrometer and a formula to determine the alcoholic strength of each fermented beverage, provided the formula is supported by a documented testing process that shows the formula produces accurate results.

Permitted variations

Permitted variations applicable to alcoholic strength are summarised in the tables below.

If actual strength does not exceed the labelled (or otherwise indicated) strength by:Alcoholic strength is:

- 0.2% for alcoholic excisable goods (excluding beer subject to secondary fermentation)

- 0.3% for beer subject to secondary fermentation

Labelled (or otherwise indicated) strength
If actual strength exceeds the labelled (or otherwise indicated) strength by: Alcoholic strength is:

- 0.2% for alcoholic excisable goods (excluding beer subject to secondary fermentation)

- 0.3% for beer subject to secondary fermentation

Actual strength

Example 6G

Bottler Brandies take samples during their bottling run and test the strength. The alcoholic strength of the bottles tested was found to be 37.3% at a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius.

Strength stated on label 37.2%

The difference between labelled and actual strength is 0.1%

The tolerance for this product is 0.2%. Therefore, the strength of the bottles of brandy is accepted as being 37.2%.

Example 6H

Bevy Brewing has completed a racking run of 10 kegs of beer. The beer is not subject to secondary fermentation.

Testing has revealed that the strength of the beer is 5.3%.

In their records, they have nominated that their kegs will be filled at a strength of 5.0%.

The difference between nominated and actual strength 0.3%

As the tolerance for this product is 0.2%, the strength of the beer is accepted as being 5.3% (i.e. the actual strength of the product).

(iii) Calculating duty payable on each excisable alcohol product

The rate of duty is set in the Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act. The rates of duty on excisable alcohol products are subject to change. They are indexed twice a year in accordance with increases in the CPI (usually on 1 February and 1 August). [142] For ease of reference we provide a 'working tariff', incorporating indexation changes, on our website .

The rate of duty you use is the rate contained in the working tariff for the subitem. It will also depend on whether you have a PSP. If you do it is the rate applicable at the time you deliver the excisable alcohol products into the Australian domestic market. If you do not have a PSP, then it is the rate applicable at the time you make the pre-payment. [143]

Precision requirements for calculations and reporting

When calculating quantities, the acceptable level of precision for working out total volume or litres of alcohol (Lals) is two decimal places.

Example 6I

When goods are delivered into the Australian domestic market under a PSP, the rate of duty that applies is the rate in force at the time the goods are delivered.

On 4 February 2019 a manufacturer delivers RTD beverages not exceeding 10% alcohol by volume under its PSP.

The RTDs are 'other excisable beverages' classified to item 2 in the Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act. The rate of duty that applies is the rate in force on 4 February 2019 - $85.36 per litre of alcohol.

Example 6J

When goods are delivered into the Australian domestic market under a prepayment, the rate that applies is the rate in force at the time payment is made.

On 31 January 2019 a manufacturer that does not hold a PSP prepays duty for the delivery of RTD beverages not exceeding 10% by volume of alcohol. The RTDs are delivered on 6 February 2019.

The RTDs are 'other excisable beverages' classified to item 2 in the Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act. The rate of duty that applies is the rate in force on 31 January 2019 - $84.51 per litre of alcohol.

The amount of duty payable is then calculated by multiplying the quantity of excisable alcohol products by the applicable rate of duty.

Example 6K

My Liquor Wholesalers makes the following deliveries during a one week period:

Beer, under subitem 1.1 in the Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act:

Day 1 - 756.23 Lals delivered

Day 2 - 497.54 Lals delivered

Day 3 - 1103.02 Lals delivered

Total = 2356.79 Lals

Brandy, under subitem 3.1 in the Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act:

Day 4 - 985.47 Lals delivered

Day 5 - 899.14 Lals delivered

Total = 1884.61 Lals

The dutiable total for goods delivered under subitem 1.1 is 2356.79 Lals and for goods delivered under subitem 3.1 is 1884.61 Lals.

However, when completing your excise return, the dutiable quantity in Lals for goods classified to a particular tariff item or subitem may be truncated to one decimal place. Truncation to one decimal place means that anything after the first decimal place is disregarded.

Example 6L

Following on from Example 6K, the dutiable total for goods delivered, by My Liquor Wholesalers, under subitem 1.1 in the Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act is 2356.79 Lals and for goods delivered under subitem 3.1 in the Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act is 1884.61 Lals.

On the excise return, My Liquor Wholesalers reports the dutiable totals as:

Subitem 1.1 2356.7 Lals

Subitem 3.1 1884.6 Lals

Excise duty is worked out on the basis of the truncated totals.

Example 6M

Bottler's Gin delivers 100 cartons, each containing 12 × 700 ml bottles of gin, at 37.2% alcohol by volume, into the Australian domestic market on 10 February 2019.

The gin is classified to subitem 3.2 in the Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act and has a duty rate of $85.36 per litre of alcohol (as at 4 February 2019).

Therefore, the duty payable is calculated as follows

100 cartons × 12 bottles × 0.7 litres each = 840.0 litres

840 litres × 37.2% = 312.48 Lals

312.48 Lals truncated to one decimal point = 312.4 Lals

312.4 Lals × $85.36 = $26,666.464.

$26,666.464 of duty is truncated to two decimal points = $26,666.46

(iv) Calculating total duty payable

Duty payments are notified to us by including details on your excise return. Excisable alcohol products classified to different items or subitems in the Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act must be shown separately on your excise return on what are referred to as lines.

Example 6N

My Liquor Wholesalers needs to report deliveries for the period ended 15 February 2019.

On their excise return, My Liquor Wholesalers reports their deliveries and duty liability as:

Line

Tariff subitem

Quantity

Units

Duty rate

Excise amount

1

1.1

2356.7

Lals

$43.27

$101,974.40

2

3.1

1884.6

Lals

$79.72

$150,240.31

TOTAL

 

 

 

 

$252,214.71

What happens if the rate changes during my settlement period?

If the rates of duty change within your settlement period, you may lodge two excise returns or, alternatively, include separate lines for the same product on one return; that is:

  • one return or line for goods delivered under the old rates, and
  • one return or line for goods delivered under the new rates.

Example 6O

The rate of duty per litre of alcohol for other excisable beverages not exceeding 10% by volume of alcohol (item 2 in the Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act) increases on and from 4 February 2019 (a Monday) from $84.51 to $85.36.

Beverage2Go is a licensed excise manufacturer of RTDs classifiable to item 2 in the Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act and holds a PSP with a settlement period that commences each Saturday.

Beverage2Go delivers RTDs containing 189.5 Lals on Sunday 3 February and RTDs containing 1,041.3 Lals over the course of the next few days.

In its excise return for Saturday 9 February, Beverage2Go uses separate line entries for RTDs delivered at the old rate and at the new rate:

Line

Tariff item

Quantity

Units

Duty rate

Excise amount

1

2

189.5

Lals

$84.51

$16,014.64

2

2

1041.3

Lals

$85.36

$88,885.36

Alternatively, on Saturday 9 February, Beverage2Go uses separate excise returns for RTDs delivered at the old rate and at the new rate:

Line

Tariff item

Quantity

Units

Duty rate

Excise amount

1

2

189.5

Lals

$84.51

$16,014.64

and

Line

Tariff item

Quantity

Units

Duty rate

Excise amount

1

2

1041.3

Lals

$85.36

$88,885.36

How can the rate change?

In addition to indexation, as described above, the applicable rate of excise duty can also be affected by:

  • changes to the Excise Tariff Act (including tariff proposals), or
  • quotas.

Changes to the Excise Tariff Act

Where the Government decides to change the rate of excise applying to excisable goods, or to apply excise to new goods or stop applying excise to certain goods this requires an amendment to the Excise Tariff Act. The Government normally notifies the intention to do this with a tariff proposal.

For more information on tariff proposals refer to Section 1.3.1 Excise Tariff Act of this guide.

Quotas

Quotas are a means of ensuring that people cannot gain an advantage by anticipating rises in excise rates and then delivering more excisable alcohol products than they would normally. Effectively quotas restrict the quantity of excisable alcohol products you can deliver into the Australian domestic market at the existing excise rate. If you exceed your quota for the period you will need to pay the duty at the new rate.

Where we believe that persons are anticipating an increase in the rate of duty, and as a result the clearances of excisable alcohol products in a particular period is likely to be greater than it otherwise would be, we will publish a notice in the Commonwealth Gazette . This notice will state that a particular period is a 'declared period'. [144]

The 'declared period' is the period during which quotas will operate. To establish your quota for the declared period we will consider the amounts of your past deliveries. [145]

Once we have established your quota we will give you a written quota order that specifies the maximum level (which can be nil) [146] of excisable alcohol products that you can deliver into the Australian domestic market at the applicable excise rate in force during the declared period.

If at any time during the declared period you exceed your quota you are required to pay the duty on the excess goods at the existing rate, and in addition we may require you to pay a security, by cash deposit, equal to the duty on the excess goods. [147]

If you have a PSP and you have exceeded your quota then the PSP stops being the authority for you to deliver goods during the declared period. [148] This means you will need to prepay the duty on any further deliveries into the Australian domestic market during the declared period.

At the end of the declared period we will reconcile your deliveries with your quota. If you delivered into the Australian domestic market more than your quota, then the duty for the amount in excess of the quota is calculated at the rate in force the day after the declared period ends. Therefore if the rate has gone up you will pay the higher rate of duty on the amount in excess of your quota.

We can vary or revoke a quota order any time before the end of the declared period or 60 days after the making of the quota order whichever occurs last. [149]

6.3.7 WHAT DO I DO IF I HAVE A DISPUTE AS TO THE DUTY?

If you dispute: [150]

  • the amount of duty
  • the rate of duty, or
  • the liability of goods to duty (for example, whether the goods are excisable)

you may deposit with us the amount of duty demanded.

The deposit of this duty is to be made on an excise return. The excise return should be accompanied by a letter which sets out the details of the dispute. Upon receipt of the amount deposited we will authorise delivery of the goods. You have 6 months after making the deposit to commence court action. If that action is decided in your favour we are obliged to refund you the deposit along with interest of 5% p.a. If the action is not commenced within 6 months or the court does not find in your favour the amount deposited is taken to be the correct amount of duty.

However, you may not commence court action if you have a taxation objection under Part IVC of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 against a private ruling and the matter of the objection:

  • relates to the amount or rate of duty; or
  • the liability of the goods to duty; and
  • the matter of the objection is also in dispute.

These disputes do not apply to changes brought about by a tariff proposal.

For more information on tariff proposals see Section 6.3.5 - How do I work out the amount of duty to pay?

Section 154 of the Excise Act does not apply in cases where we are of the opinion that any evasion of the Excise Act has been committed or attempted.

As authority to deliver the goods is a consequence of making the deposit we consider that this means that section 154 does not apply to goods delivered under a PSP.

6.3.8 DO I HAVE TO ACCOUNT FOR EXCISABLE ALCOHOL PRODUCTS?

Where you have or had possession, custody or control of any excisable alcohol products [151] (subject to our control), you have to be able to satisfactorily account for them.

If we ask you to account for excisable alcohol products, and you cannot satisfactorily do so, then you may be required to pay an amount equal to the duty. If we require this payment you will be given a written demand. The amount you are required to pay is calculated using the rate of duty in force on the day the demand is made.

When requested to account for excisable alcohol products you must be able to show that:

  • the goods are still at your premises
  • duty has been paid
  • duty was not payable (for example, where a remission applied), or
  • the goods have otherwise been dealt with in accordance with the excise law (for example, moved under a movement permission or included on an excise return at a concessional rate).

Even where you are able to account satisfactorily for the goods, you may be required to pay an amount equal to the duty if you failed to keep the goods safely. This would include where the goods were:

  • given away for promotional purposes
  • stolen from licensed premises, or
  • delivered into the Australian domestic market under the mistaken belief that they were not excisable, including those where WET has been paid.

Our decision to demand payment is a reviewable decision. [152]

For information about your review rights refer to Chapter 8 - Reviews and objections .

6.3.9 STOCK MANAGEMENT

You are required to keep your excisable goods safely at all times, and properly account for them should you be requested by the Commissioner to do so.

You will only be able to evidence that you have kept your excisable goods safely, and you will only be able to properly account for your excisable goods if you have adequate stock management practices, and you have kept proper stock management records.

Unless you are subject to specific conditions to the contrary, the following section outlines what you need to do if you identify a shortage and/or surplus of stock on-hand, and how you should manage duty-paid goods returned to stock.

Managing stock shortages and surpluses

Shortages

Following a stocktake, where your record of underbond stock on-hand of a particular excisable good exceeds the actual underbond stock you physically have on-hand, you have a stock shortage. A stock shortage indicates that underbond goods have been delivered into home consumption without them being recorded as having been delivered. That is, excisable goods have been delivered without excise duty being paid on them.

Depending on the circumstances, you need to report the amount of your excise liability for the shortage in one of the following ways:

  • Excise amendment form - Where you can identify that the shortage arose in a particular settlement period, you can report the amount of the excise duty payable on the shortage on an Excise amendment form . You must reference the number of the original return on the amendment form and pay duty on the shortage at the rate in force at the time you lodged the original return.

    To obtain an Excise amendment form (NAT 4286):
    • visit our website at www.ato.gov.au , or
    • phone 1300 137 290.


    For more information about completing your Excise amendment form refer to the Excise amendment instructions available on our website.
  • Current excise return - Where you are unable to attribute the shortage to a particular settlement period, you need to report the excise shortfall resulting from the shortage in the next Excise return you lodge (for the period in which the shortage was identified), and pay duty on the shortage at the rate in force at the time the shortage was identified.

Once you have reported and paid excise duty on the shortfall in one of the ways set out above, you can then adjust your stock records to reflect the quantity of underbond goods physically on-hand.

Surpluses

Where actual underbond stock you physically have on-hand exceeds your record of underbond stock on-hand, this indicates that excisable goods have been manufactured or received without being recorded in your records. To ensure the correct amount of duty is ultimately paid, your stock records should be adjusted to reflect the actual underbond stock you physically have on-hand.

Offsetting

Offsetting is a method you can use to determine the net excise duty that should be reported on an excise amendment form or on your current excise return. Offsetting only applies to the amount of excise duty that applies to goods on a dollar ($) duty basis.

Where you have a surplus of underbond stock, it is possible that you may have recorded the wrong stock as having been delivered to a customer and paid excise duty accordingly. It would follow that a reconciliation of your stock records and actual stock on-hand will show a surplus of one stock item and a shortage of another. Where you can establish that the difference is due to a mistake of this kind, you can generally offset the shortage in excise duty against the excise duty for the surplus stock in your records.

If you have a net excise duty surplus after offsetting the excise duty component of your surplus stock against the excise duty component of the shortage, you can simply adjust your records accordingly.

If you have a net excise duty shortage after offsetting the excise duty component of your surplus stock against the excise duty component of the shortage, you must report and pay the net excise duty shortage. Instructions on how to report and pay duty on a stock shortage (which includes an offsetting shortage) are set out above under ' Shortages '.

Restrictions on offsetting

Offsetting may be applied generally across excisable alcoholic goods. For example, beer, spirits, liqueurs and other excisable beverages may be offset against each other.

To avoid becoming liable to excise duty twice, offsetting is only permitted against underbond excisable stock. That is, you must not offset underbond goods against returned duty-paid goods. Refer to, ' Returning duty-paid goods to stock ' below for information on what you need to do where duty-paid goods are returned to you (because, for example, they were mis-picked or the customer over-ordered).

You are also not permitted to offset a shortage/surplus of underbond excisable stock against a shortage/surplus of imported goods.

Importantly, offsetting cannot be applied to overcome deficiencies in record keeping or manufacturing processes. If your record keeping is found to be unsatisfactory, the ATO may issue a demand for an amount equivalent to the excise duty. This may result in you being personally liable for an amount equivalent to the excise duty.

Example 6P

On 30 June 2019, My Liquor Wholesalers finalises a stocktake and finds there is a surplus of 1500 cans of Brand × underbond beer at 5% by volume of alcohol and a shortage of 2000 cans of Brand Y underbond beer at 5% by volume of alcohol. All cans have a capacity of 375ml and the beer is manufactured in Australia.

My Liquor Wholesalers is able to offset the excise duty on the surplus stock against the excise duty on the shortage. This results in net excise duty payable.

My Liquor Wholesalers corrects its book stock to take up the surplus floor stock of 1500 cans of Brand × beer.

My Liquor Wholesalers was unable to identify the settlement period in which the stock shortage arose. As such, My Liquor Wholesalers needs to report the excise duty payable on the net shortage of 500 cans on its next excise return (for its settlement period covering 30 June 2019), and pay the duty on the 500 can shortage based on the rate in force on 30 June 2019. My Liquor Wholesalers can then write off the shortage of 2000 cans of Brand Y beer in its records.

Example 6Q

Continuing on from Example 6P, a couple of months later My Liquor Wholesalers decides to conduct another stocktake. They find a surplus of 2500 bottles of 700ml Brand A underbond rum at 38% by volume of alcohol and a shortage of 1000 bottles of 700ml Brand B underbond whisky at 38% by volume of alcohol. The beverages are manufactured in Australia.

My Liquor Wholesalers decides to offset the excise duty on the surplus stock against the excise duty on the shortage. Therefore, there are no bottles that have not been accounted for but there is a net excise duty surplus relating to the Brand A underbond rum.

My Liquor Wholesalers corrects its records to reflect the excise duty relating to the surplus floor stock of 2500 bottles of rum less the excise duty relating to the shortage of 1000 bottles of whisky. In this case there is no shortfall in the payment of the duty.

Example 6R

Spawn Brewery manufactures a Pale Ale at 5% alcohol and sells ten kegs to customers in April 2019. The kegs have a 50ltr capacity. Spawn Brewery lodges its excise return on 21 May 2019 and pays the duty.

Of the ten kegs sold, five kegs are returned by a customer on 22 May 2019 due to them over-ordering. Spawn Brewery keeps a record of the returned goods and the goods are physically moved back to the same location where the underbond Pale Ale is stored.

On 30 May 2019 Spawn Brewery sells 40 units of its 50ltr Pale Ale kegs (all of which are 5% alcohol). Because the kegs being delivered are precisely the same type of product and in precisely the same volume of container (50ltr kegs) as the previously returned duty-paid kegs, Spawn Brewery may treat the sale of the first 5 kegs of Pale Ale as being the sale of duty-paid goods, and reduce its records of stock on-hand of returned goods accordingly.

On 21 June 2019, when calculating the excise duty payable on sales in May 2019, Spawn Brewery will pay excise duty on the sale of 35 kegs of its Pale Ale. The remaining 5 kegs that were sold are treated as the sale of duty-paid goods. All subsequent sales of excisable goods will be subject to excise duty.

6.4 PROCEDURES

6.4.1 HOW DO I GET A PSP?

If you apply for a manufacturer or storage licence, you can use your application form to indicate whether you intend to pay excise duty either periodically or prior to delivery. You do not need to complete a separate PSP application.

If you do not have a licence, or you originally chose not to pay excise duty periodically, contact us and provide us in writing your:

  • licence details (if you have one), and
  • reasons for applying for a PSP.

If we approve your PSP, we will notify you in writing within seven days of receiving your request.

A PSP is not transferable to another person and remains in force until revoked.

A request to add or delete delivery establishments from a PSP is treated as a request for a new permission. However, your PSP number will remain unchanged.

We may also:

  • refuse to grant a PSP
  • impose conditions on a PSP, or
  • cancel a PSP.

Failure to comply with a condition may result in the cancellation of the PSP. [153] In such an instance, we would take into account a variety of factors, including your payment history.

A decision to refuse, impose conditions on, or to cancel a PSP is a reviewable decision. [154]

For information about your review rights refer to Chapter 8 - Reviews and objections .

For more information about PSPs, contact us by phoning 1300 137 290 or emailing us at alcohol@ato.gov.au.

6.4.2 WHAT DOES MY PSP INCLUDE?

Your PSP in relation to excisable alcohol products will include:

  1. permission to deliver excisable alcohol products into the Australian domestic market
  2. conditions, such as:
    • settlement period - the period specified during which goods can be delivered [155]
    • the type of goods that may be delivered from each premises,
    • quantity limits (if any)
    • when you must pay the duty
    • how you must pay - permitted methods (e.g. EFT, cheque, at a Post Office)
    • when and how to lodge your excise return, and
    • record-keeping requirements
  3. a schedule listing:
    • one or more premises from which deliveries may be made.

Example 6R

A PSP specifies a settlement period starting on Saturday and ending on Friday. It states that excise returns must be lodged by 4 pm on the first business day after the end of the settlement period. It also says that the duty on deliveries made during the settlement period must be paid at the same time as the excise return is required to be lodged.

An excise return must be lodged, and the duty paid, by 4 pm on Monday for all goods delivered during the settlement period.

When a public holiday falls on a Monday, the excise return is due for lodgment and duty is to be paid by 4 pm on Tuesday, the next business day.

Where you have deliveries in different states of Australia there may be different public holidays in those states. If your returns are prepared by an office in a state different from that in which the delivery into the Australian domestic market occurs, lodgment is due on the next business day in the state where the return is prepared. [156]

6.4.3 WHAT MUST I DO TO DELIVER ALCOHOL PRODUCTS INTO THE AUSTRALIAN DOMESTIC MARKET?

Delivery under periodic settlement permission

If we provide you with a PSP, you must take the following steps to deliver excisable alcohol products into the Australian domestic market:

  1. deliver the alcohol products into the Australian domestic market: (the products are now no longer subject to excise control )
  2. complete and submit your excise return in accordance with the timeframes in the permission, and
  3. pay the duty to us in accordance with the timeframes in the permission.

Delivery after prepaying the excise duty

If you do not have a PSP, you must take the following steps to deliver excisable alcohol products into the Australian domestic market:

  1. complete and submit your excise return
  2. pay the duty to us
  3. obtain a Delivery authority from us, and
  4. deliver the alcohol products into the Australian domestic market.

6.4.4 HOW DO I LODGE EXCISE RETURNS AND PAY EXCISE DUTY?

You can lodge your excise return (NAT 4285) via:

the Business Portal

fax at 1300 131 456 ,
mail to
Australian Taxation Office
PO Box 3007
PENRITH NSW 2740

You can pay excise duties:

  • by electronic funds transfer, including direct credit and BPAY
  • in person at a Post Office,
  • by credit card; or
  • by mail (cheque or money order).

If you are required to pay your other tax debts electronically, you must also make your payment for excise duty by electronic funds transfer.

If you pay the excise duty at a Post Office, you must use a payment advice. To obtain a payment advice booklet, phone us on 13 72 26 or 1800 815 886 and supply us with your Australian Business Number (or Excise Identification Number) and client account number.

Lodgment of an excise return and payment of any duty must be made by the day and time stated on your PSP. [157]

Failure to pay on time may result in the cancellation of your PSP.

To obtain an excise return (NAT 4285):

For more information about completing your excise return refer to Excise return instructions , available on our website.

6.4.5 WHAT DO I DO IF I NEED MORE INFORMATION?

If you need more information on payment of duty contact us via:

the Business Portal

phone on 1300 137 290
fax at 1300 130 916 ,
email at alcohol@ato.gov.au , or
mail to
Australian Taxation Office
PO Box 3514
ALBURY NSW 2640

We will ordinarily respond to electronic requests within 15 business days. We will ordinarily finalise private rulings within 28 days of receiving all necessary information. If we cannot respond within 28 days, we will contact you within 14 days to obtain more information or negotiate an extended response date.

6.5 WHAT PENALTIES CAN APPLY TO OFFENCES IN RELATION TO PAYMENT OF DUTY?

The following are the penalties that may apply after conviction for an offence.

Move, alter or interfere

If you move, alter or interfere with excisable alcohol products that are subject to excise control, without permission, the penalty is a maximum of two years in prison or the greater of 500 penalty units and five times the amount of duty on the excisable alcohol products. [158]

Deliver

If you deliver excisable alcohol products into the Australian domestic market contrary to your permission, the penalty is a maximum of two years in prison or the greater of 500 penalty units and five times the amount of duty on the excisable alcohol products. [159]

Evade

If you evade payment of any excise duty which is payable, the maximum penalty is five times the amount of duty on the excisable alcohol products or where a court cannot determine the amount of that duty the penalty is a maximum of 500 units. [160]

False or misleading statements

If you make a false or misleading statement, or an omission from a statement in respect of duty payable on particular goods, to us, a penalty not exceeding the sum of 50 penalty units and twice the amount of duty payable on those goods. [161]

6.6 TERMS USED

Deliver into the Australian domestic market

[162]

'Deliver into the Australian domestic market' is the term we use in this manual for when excisable alcohol products are released into domestic consumption. The term used in the legislation is 'deliver for home consumption'.

Normally this will be by delivering the goods away from licensed premises but includes using those goods yourself (for example sales to staff).

The term 'home consumption' is not defined in the Excise Act and there is no definitive case law that looks at the issue in question. However there are several cases where issues closely related to it are considered. [163]

The conclusion drawn from those cases is that 'home consumption' refers to the destination of goods as being within Australia as opposed to exporting them.

Excisable alcohol products

Excisable goods are goods on which excise duty is imposed. Excise duty is imposed on goods that are listed in the Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act, or an Excise Tariff alteration, and manufactured in Australia.

As these guidelines deal with alcohol products, we have used the term excisable alcohol products.

Excisable alcohol products include:

  • beer
  • spirits
  • premixed drinks known as ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages
  • brewed beverages that are not beer, and
  • spirit for non-beverage use, including denatured spirit.

Excise control

Goods are subject to excise control from the point of manufacture until they have been delivered into the Australian domestic market or for export.

Goods subject to excise control cannot be moved, altered or interfered with except as authorised by the Excise Act.

Excise return

An excise return is the document that you use to advise us:

  • the volume of excisable alcohol products that you have delivered into the Australian domestic market during the period designated on your PSP, or
  • the volume of excisable alcohol products that you wish to deliver into the Australian domestic market following approval. [164]

Penalty units

Refer to section 4AA of the Crimes Act 1914 for the current value of a penalty unit.

Remission

A remission of excise duty extinguishes the liability for duty that was created at the point of manufacture, in prescribed circumstances.

For more information about remissions see Chapter 7 - Remissions, refunds, drawbacks and exemptions .

Underbond

This is an expression not found in excise legislation but it is widely used to describe goods that are subject to excise control. Excisable goods that are subject to the Commissioner's control are commonly referred to as 'underbond goods' or as being 'underbond'. This includes goods that have not yet been delivered into the Australian domestic market and goods moving between premises under a movement permission.

6.7 LEGISLATION (quick reference guide)

In this chapter we have referred to the following legislation:

6.7.1 Excise Act 1901

Section 24 - Excisable goods and goods liable to duties of Customs may be used in manufacturing excisable goods

Section 58 - Entry for home consumption etc.

Section 59 - Payment of duty

Section 59A - Declared period quotas - effect on rates of Excise duty

Section 60 - Persons to keep excisable goods safely etc.

Section 61 - Control of excisable goods

Section 61C - Permission to deliver certain goods for home consumption without entry

Section 65 - Rules for working out the volume or weight etc. of excisable goods

Section 77FA - Excise duty to be paid according to labelled alcoholic strength of certain beverages

Section 114 - Time for commencing action

Section 120 - Offences

Section 154 - Deposit of duty

Section 162C - Review of decisions

6.7.2 Excise Tariff Act 1921

Section 5 - Duties of excise

Section 6A - Indexation of rates of duty

The Schedule

6.7.3 Crimes Act 1914

Section 4AA - Penalty units

6.7.4 Taxation Administration Act 1953

Part IVC

Excise guidelines for the alcohol industry
  Date: Version:
  1 July 2013 Original document
  1 July 2015 Updated document
  7 September 2017 Updated document
  21 February 2018 Updated document
  5 August 2019 Updated document
  4 June 2021 Updated document
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