ATO Interpretative Decision

ATO ID 2004/50


Excise: accounting for excisable goods for the purposes of section 60 of the Excise Act 1901
FOI status: may be released
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CAUTION: This is an edited and summarised record of a Tax Office decision. This record is not published as a form of advice. It is being made available for your inspection to meet FOI requirements, because it may be used by an officer in making another decision.

This ATOID provides you with the following level of protection:

If you reasonably apply this decision in good faith to your own circumstances (which are not materially different from those described in the decision), and the decision is later found to be incorrect you will not be liable to pay any penalty or interest. However, you will be required to pay any underpaid tax (or repay any over-claimed credit, grant or benefit), provided the time limits under the law allow it. If you do intend to apply this decision to your own circumstances, you will need to ensure that the relevant provisions referred to in the decision have not been amended or repealed. You may wish to obtain further advice from the Tax Office or from a professional adviser.


Has an entity accounted for excisable goods to the satisfaction of a Collector (as required by subsection 60(1) of the Excise Act 1901) if the entity provides evidence of their sale?


No. An entity will not have accounted for excisable goods to the satisfaction of a Collector (as required by subsection 60(1) of the Excise Act) if the entity simply provides evidence of their sale.


An entity manufactures a range of fruit wine based beverages.

The entity treated a batch of the beverages as being subject to wine equalisation tax (WET). The Tax Office determined the beverages were not subject to WET but were 'other excisable beverages.' 'Other excisable beverages' are excisable goods.

The beverages were sold by the entity. The entity has documentary evidence of their sale. Excise duty was not paid on the beverages. A Collector requested the entity to account for the beverages. A demand under section 60 of the Excise Act was issued to the entity.

Reasons for Decision

Subsection 60(1) of the Excise Act states:

Where a person (including a licensed manufacturer) who has, or has been entrusted with, the possession, custody or control of excisable goods which are subject to the CEO's control:

fails to keep those goods safely; or
when so requested by a Collector, does not account for those goods to the satisfaction of a Collector

the person shall, on demand in writing made by a Collector, pay to the Commonwealth an amount equal to the amount of the Excise duty which would have been payable on those goods if they had been entered for home consumption on the day on which the Collector made the demand.

The purpose of section 60 of the Excise Act was examined in Collector of Customs (NSW) v. Southern Shipping Co Ltd (1962) 107 CLR 279. The case was decided prior to the Commissioner of Taxation taking over responsibility for Excise matters. The principles outlined in the case remain valid but references to Customs control should be read as being references to 'the CEO's control'. Menzies J, in discussing subsection 60(1) stated:

... the safety with which the section is concerned is that the goods - subject as they are to the control of Customs - do not get out of Customs control into home consumption without the payment of duty; similarly, the account of the goods that is required is an account which shows an authorized relinquishment of possession, custody and control or, despite an unauthorized loss of possession, custody and control, that the goods have not got into home consumption without the payment of duty or that, notwithstanding the failure to keep the goods safely, Customs control over them is still effective.

Finkelstein J. in Sidebottom v. Giuliano [2000] FCA 607 described the object of section 60 as follows:

The object of s60 is to impose an obligation upon a person in possession, custody or control of excisable goods to ensure that those goods do not find their way into home consumption without the payment of duty.

As can be seen from the above case extracts, the object of section 60 is to ensure that goods do not leave the CEO's control until they are properly accounted for. Proper accounting requires the recording and payment of the requisite duty.

The manufacturer of the excisable goods had possession of the goods from the time they were made until they were sold.

As the entity has allowed the goods to leave the CEO's control without payment of the requisite duty, the goods have not been properly accounted for, regardless of whether the entity can provide evidence of their sale.

Date of decision:  14 January 2004

Legislative References:
Excise Act 1901
   subsection 60(1)

Case References:
Customs, Collector of (NSW) v. Southern Shipping Co Ltd
   (1962) 107 CLR 279

Sidebottom v. Giuliano
   (2000) 98 FCR 579

Related ATO Interpretative Decisions
ATO ID 2004/49

Excisable goods
Excise collections

Business Line:  Excise

Date of publication:  23 January 2004

ISSN: 1445-2782

  Date: Version:
You are here 14 January 2004 Original statement
  12 March 2010 Withdrawn