Excise guidelines for the fuel industry
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This chapter deals with:
- what a blended product is
- how it is classified
- the rates of excise that apply, and
- penalties that can apply to offences in relation to blending.
Fuel is commonly blended with other fuel or other substances to make products suitable for a particular purpose. The excise treatment of blends is quite complex and may vary. The correct excise treatment may depend on what components and proportions are in the blend and whether duty paid products are used. The provisions relating to blends are aimed at ensuring the correct amount of revenue is collected and that the application of excise duty on blends and the operation of the Fuel Tax Credit Scheme are appropriate
Although the term 'blend' is not defined in the Excise Act or the Excise Tariff Act, section 77G of the Excise Act specifically provides that fuel blending which produces goods covered by paragraph 10(g) in the Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act (Schedule) constitutes the manufacture of those goods. Given that it is taken to be the manufacture of those goods, it follows that the blends are excisable.
Some limited exemptions apply (for further information, see the "Exempt Blending" section below)
In general, blends of any one or more of the following (with or without other substances) are excisable, (unless there is an exclusion that covers the blend):
Fuel oil [as defined in subsection 3(1)]
Liquid aromatic hydrocarbon products (e.g. toluene, benzene or xylene)
Stabilised crude petroleum oil
Topped crude petroleum oil
Examples of blended fuel:
- An importer mixes imported diesel with locally produced diesel. This is regarded as blending covered by section 77G of the Excise Act, and is therefore manufacture for excise purposes.
- A licensed manufacturer mixes duty-paid benzene with underbond benzene. This is regarded as blending for excise purposes.
A manufacturer produces white spirit by means of blending various petroleum products.
The product, though a blend of other products that fall within item 10 in the Schedule, is classified as white spirit, subitem 10.26 in the Schedule.
Exempt blending occurs where the blending process results in a product that is classifiable to paragraph 10(g) of the Schedule but the Excise Act or related determinations specify that this is not an act of excise manufacture.
In some cases the exemptions relate to the blend and the constituents of the blend while in other cases the exemptions arise due to the circumstances in which the blending occurs.
The following flowchart sets out the process for deciding whether production of a particular blend is excise manufacture.
The logic behind this process is:-
- Does the blend fall under section 77G of the Excise Act?
The answer will be yes if
- The blend components are classifiable to Items 10, 15, 20 or 21 of the Schedule; and
- The blend is covered by paragraph 10(g) of the Excise Tariff.
- Are the circumstances covered by a determination made under sections 77H(3) and (4)?
The answer will be "yes" if the product meets any of the tests described in (a) to (g) below.
- Is the blend a blend of the same 'relevant fuel' that is not subject to remission, and, excise or customs duty has been paid on the fuel which is blended?
If the answer is "yes" then the blended product is not covered by paragraph 10(g) of the Excise Act.
- Is the blend a blend of LPG or a blend of LNG and for each amount of the blend either:
- a remission of excise or customs duty applied; or
- each amount of the blend was manufactured, produced or imported before 1 December 2011?
If the answer is "yes" to either situation, then the blended product is not covered by paragraph 10(g) of the Excise Act.
- Is the blend a blend of components that have been duty paid at the same rate or is the blend covered by a determination under section 95-5 of the Fuel Tax Act that the blend does not constitute a fuel?
The answer will be "yes" if only duty paid products with the same duty rate have been used or the blend is covered by a determination under section 95-5.
- Is a constituent of the blend denatured ethanol or biodiesel; or a constituent is a taxable fuel that an entity has been entitled to a fuel tax credit?
The answer will be "yes" if either biofuels have been used in the blend or the blender is entitled to a fuel tax credit (this generally applies to packaged product meeting certain criteria or the supply of heating oil for domestic purposes)
The following is a summary of the legislative provisions that result in these blends not being excisable and the source of the exemption.
Subsection 77H(3) and (4) of the Excise Act
Excise (Blending exemptions) Determination 2014 (No. 1) is a legislative instrument created under these sections of the Excise Act. Blends covered by this Determination are generally of an incidental or trivial nature:
(a) Oil and gasoline are blended for use as two stroke gasoline where duty has been paid both constituents;
(b) An incidental blend occurs where the constituents are placed in a tank containing remnants of those fuels listed above or another substance;
(c) Diesel or biodiesel on which duty has been paid is blended with stabilised crude petroleum oil;
(d) Fuel on which duty has been paid is blended with a dye;
(e) Fuel on which duty has been paid is blended with prepared additives that enhance the performance of an internal combustion engine or assist in its maintenance (the prepared additives cannot be methanol or other fuel) and the blend is packaged into containers of not more than 10 litres capacity;
(f) Fuel on which duty has been paid is blended with one or more of the following additives, being additives that are packaged into containers of at least 10 litres capacity, the prepared additives cannot be methanol or other fuel and the total amount of all prepared additives in the resultant blend does not exceed 0.5 % v/v.
- goods that are the product of the blending of amounts of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) without other substances if the following apply:
- any applicable excise duty or an excise equivalent duty of Customs that is payable on each quantity of the LPG has been paid;
(ii) the blending occurs:
- in a container that is capable of containing not more than 210 kilograms of LPG; or
(b) in a tank at residential premises and the resultant blend is not for use in carrying on an enterprise; or
(c) in a tank that is for use in a system for supplying LPG to at least 2 residential premises (whether or not the system also supplies fuel to premises other than residential premises)
(iii) the tank in which the blending occurs is not for use in a system for supplying fuel to an internal combustion engine of either a motor vehicle or a vessel, either directly or by filling another tank connected to such an engine.
Subsection 77H(1) of the Excise Act
This section provides that where the constituents of the blend have all had duty (customs or excise) paid at the same rate, excise manufacture has not occurred. The same exemption also applies where goods are covered by a determination in force under section 95-5 of the Fuel Tax Act.
A fuel retailer mixes duty-paid diesel with duty-paid kerosene to make winter mix, for use in diesel engines in cold climatic conditions. No one has been entitled to claim a fuel tax credit on the diesel or on the heating oil.
The blend is not excisable, as both components have been duty-paid at the same rate.
Fuel Tax (Fuel Blends) Determination 2006 (No. 3) has been created under section 95-5. This determination is largely directed at the solvents industry where various formulations could be used in internal combustion engines but are not marketed as such.
Blends covered by this determination are blends that are not marketed or sold as fuel for an internal combustion engine. The blend must consist of a taxable fuel classified to subitem 10.25, 10.26, 10.27 or 10.28 of the Schedule; and either
- The blend contains one of the substance in the minimum concentration listed below; or
- The blend contains more than one of the substances listed below so that the total concentration of these substances is at least 10% by volume.
Minimum concentration for % v/v
Tertiary butyl alcohol
Other alcohols (other than methanol, ethanol and isopropyl alcohol)
Methyl tertiary butyl ether
An entity makes a range of solvent formulations which it does not market as being for use as fuel in an internal combustion engine.
Blend 1 90% toluene with 10% methyl ethyl ketone
This does not constitute a fuel for FTC purposes since the minimum concentration for ketones is 10%
Blend 2 90% toluene with 8% methyl ethyl ketone and 2% butanol
This does not constitute a fuel for FTC purposes since the total of ketones and other alcohols is greater than10%
Blend 3 90% toluene with 4% methyl ethyl ketone, 4% butanol and 2% benzene. This constitutes a fuel for FTC purposes since the total of ketones and other alcohols is less than 10%
Subsection 77H(2) of the Excise Act
This subsection provides an exception to the exemptions provided for in subsection 77H(1) where any of the constituents of the blend are biodiesel or fuel ethanol or a taxable fuel for which an entity has been entitled to claim a fuel tax credit (for example kerosene that has been packaged in 20 litre containers).
If you are unsure whether the products you produce are subject to excise duty under item 10 of the Schedule you can seek specific advice from us.
For more information on the Commissioner's view on manufacture for the purposes of the Excise Act refer to ER 2012/1 : Excise the meaning of the expression 'manufactured or produced' for the purposes of the Excise Acts.
Section 77H(2A) of the Excise Act
This subsection applies to the blending of the following fuels. 
- gasoline for use in aircraft
- kerosene for use in aircraft
- CNG that is classified to subitem 10.19C of the Schedule
The blending of these fuels is not excise manufacture if the blended fuels:
- are not subject to a remission of excise or customs duty, either in full or in part; and
- any excise or customs duty payable on the fuels has been paid.
A quantity of LPG was duty paid on 3 March 2015 at a rate of $0.102 per litre (with no remission available because it was intended for use in transport), and it is added to a tank containing a quantity of LPG that was duty paid prior to 1 February July 2015 at a rate of $0.101 (also with no remission available because it was intended for a transport use).
The blending does not constitute manufacture.
For more information on the remissions refer to Chapter 7 - Remissions, refunds, drawback and exemptions
Section 77H(2B) of the Excise Act
This subsection applies to the blending of LPG or LNG where the fuel has been eligible for an excise or customs remission, regardless of the level of remission.
The blending of LPG or LNG is not excise manufacture if:
- the fuel is subject to a remission, either in full or in part, of excise or customs duty because it is not used, or intended for use, in an internal combustion engine in either a motor vehicle or a vessel; or
- the fuel is not subject to excise or customs duty because it was manufactured, produced or imported before 1 December 2011.
Evan's BBQ Bonanza Gas receives a delivery of 10,000 litres of LPG on 15 July 2012 that his supplier has applied the partial remission to as he knows that Evan's BBQ Bonanza only supplies LPG in 9 kilogram barbeque bottles. The LPG is delivered into Evan's bulk tank that already contains 4,000 litres of LPG delivered on 20 June 2012 that was the subject of the full remission. The blending of these two quantities of LPG, although subject to different duty rates does not constitute excise manufacture and therefore the blend is not subject to duty.
The exemption only applies where each quantity of LPG or LNG that is blended are subject to a remission, either in full or in part. This exemption was in effect during the period that the carbon charge was applied to non-transport LPG and LNG via a partial remission under the excise regime (1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013).
For more information on the remissions refer to Chapter 7 - Remissions, refunds, drawback and exemptions
The Commissioner acknowledges that long standing practice in the fuel industry in relation to imported fuels has been to mix imported fuel with local fuel and then deal with the resulting fuel through the excise system. We accept that mixing of imported fuel with local fuel, in premises covered by an excise manufacturer licence and a Customs warehouse licence, is blending covered by section 77G of the Excise Act and is therefore manufacture.
This position is supported by section 24 of the Excise Act. Section 24 provides that:
' Excisable goods and goods liable to duties of customs may be used in manufacturing excisable goods. Goods liable to duties of Customs may, while subject to control of the Customs, be used in the manufacture of excisable goods in accordance with this Act. The regulations may prescribe conditions on the use of goods liable to duties of Customs, while subject to the control of the Customs, in the manufacture of excisable goods.'
The Customs Act 1901 provides for the extinguishment of customs duty on fuel where certain imported goods (including fuel) are used in the manufacture of excisable goods  . The manufacture must occur at premises covered by both an excise manufacturer licence and a Customs warehouse licence.
In the Schedule, there are three specific biofuel blends with separate subitems and a general subitem for other blends.
If you are blending fuels of the same type (eg petrol with petrol) or where a blend has the characteristics accepted in the industry for a particular product mentioned in the Schedule (eg see example 11B above) it is classified to the specific subitem and not as a blend.
Description of goods
Rate of Duty
Blends of gasoline and ethanol
The amount of duty worked out under section 6G
Blends of diesel and ethanol
The amount of duty worked out under section 6G
Blends of diesel and biodiesel
The amount of duty worked out under section 6G
Blends of 1 or more of the above goods (with or without other substances) not elsewhere included that can be used as fuel in an internal combustion engine (other than goods covered by section 77J of the Excise Act 1901 )
The amount of duty worked out under section 6G
Section 6G of the Excise Act sets out the method statement for working out the duty payable on blends as follows:
Add up the amount of duty that would be payable on each constituent of the blend that is classified to item 10 of the Schedule
Work out the volume, in litres, of any other constituent of the blend (excluding any water) that was added to the blended goods. 
Multiply the result of step 2 by the 'CPI Indexed rate' as defined in Excise Tariff Proposal (No. 1) 2014 that applies on the day the goods are delivered into home consumption or when payment of duty is made, whichever is the earlier.
Total the results of steps 1 and 3.
Subtract from the total any duty paid on a constituent of the blended goods that is classified to item 10 or 15 of the Schedule.
If a constituent of the blended goods was imported, and customs duty was paid or payable on the goods, treat that customs duty as if it were excise duty in working out the duty payable.
If the rate of excise duty on a constituent of the blended goods would be less than the customs duty paid, use the lesser amount in working out the duty payable.
A manufacturer makes a solvent blend to a customer's specification from 10,000 litres of underbond toluene (classified to subitem 10.25 of the Schedule) and 5,000 litres of a duty-paid product classified to 10.28 of the Schedule. The blend is capable of being used as fuel in an internal combustion engine.
The resulting blend is classified to subitem 10.30 of the Schedule and is delivered into home consumption on 1 March 2015. Duty is payable on the blend as follows:
10,000 litres of toluene @ $0.389 per litre
5,000 litres of petroleum product
5,000 litres x $0.389
Total of steps 1 and 3
Less duty paid
Duty payable on the blend (to nearest $)
Before underbond excisable fuel products can be blended as part of the manufacture of non-excisable goods (eg when they are used in the manufacture of paint), they must be 'delivered' into home consumption. If you have a PSP, the underbond product is deemed to be delivered into home consumption at the point the blend is made and would be included in the next excise return . If you do not have a PSP you need to enter the product on an excise return, pay the duty and receive an Authority to deliver excisable goods before you make the blend.
Lionel's Solvents is licensed to manufacture toluene and has a PSP. On 25 February 2015 Lionel's Solvents uses some underbond toluene to make a blend that cannot be used as fuel in an internal combustion engine.
Lionel's Solvents must include the toluene used in the blend on its next excise return as subitem 10.25 of the Schedule and pay duty at the rate of $0.389 per litre.
The toluene is delivered into home consumption at the time the blend is made.
Barry's Blenders wants to make a blend of 90% toluene and 10% methyl ethyl ketone (MEK). They have 9,000 litres of underbond toluene.
The blend is covered by Fuel Tax (Fuel blends) Determination 2006 (No. 3), and is not excisable.
The act of blending the toluene into the final product that can't be used in an internal combustion engine is the point where the toluene is considered to be delivered into home consumption. Barry's Blenders don't hold a PSP and therefore must include the 9,000 litres of toluene in an excise return, prior to undertaking the blending process. The toluene is entered on the return under subitem 10.25 of the Schedule and duty is payable at the rate inforce on the day the payment is made.
The blend itself is not included in an excise return.
You may make blends that are not excisable using duty-paid components even if you do not hold an excise manufacturer licence.
As these blends are not excisable, they are not subject to excise control. Excise duty has been paid on any excisable component before the blend is made.
You can access copies of the determinations on our website at www.ato.gov.au
If you need more information on blending contact us as follows:
- phone 1300 137 290
- fax 1300 130 916 ,
- email us at ATO-EXC-Petroleum@ato.gov.au , or
- write to us at
Australian Taxation Office
PO Box 3514
ALBURY NSW 2640
We will ordinarily respond to written information requests within 28 days. If we cannot respond within 28 days, we will contact you within 14 days to obtain more information or negotiate an extended response date.
The following are the penalties that may apply after conviction for an offence.
If you manufacture excisable fuel products without a manufacturer licence, the penalty is a maximum of two years in prison or the greater of 500 penalty units and 5 times the amount of duty on the excisable fuel products. 
If you manufacture excisable fuel products contrary to the Excise Act or any conditions specified in your licence, the penalty is a maximum of two years in prison or 500 penalty units. 
If you manufacture excisable fuel products at premises that are not specified in your licence, the penalty is a maximum of two years in prison or the greater of 500 penalty units and 5 times the amount of duty on the excisable fuel products. 
Move, alter or interfere
If you move underbond excisable fuel products without approval, the penalty is a maximum of two years in prison or the greater of 500 penalty units and 5 times the amount of duty on the excisable fuel products. 
This includes moving underbond excisable fuel products from your premises to any other location or for export.
If your movement of underbond excisable fuel products does not comply with the permission to move the underbond excisable fuel products, the penalty is a maximum of two years in prison or the greater of 500 penalty units and 5 times the amount of duty on the excisable fuel products. 
If you move, alter or interfere with excisable fuel 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 5 times the amount of duty on the excisable fuel products. 
If you deliver excisable fuel products into home consumption contrary to your permission, the penalty is a maximum of two years in prison or the greater of 500 penalty units and 5 times the amount of duty on the excisable fuel products. 
If you sell excisable fuel products on which duty has not been paid (unless it is an underbond sale or a sale for export), the penalty is a maximum of two years in prison or the greater of 500 penalty units and 5 times the amount of duty on the excisable fuel products. 
If you do not keep, retain and produce records in accordance with a direction under section 50 of the Excise Act, the penalty is a maximum of 30 penalty units.
If you do not comply with a direction in regard to what parts of the factory can be used for various matters, the penalty is a maximum of 10 penalty units. 
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, the penalty is a maximum of 50 penalty units and twice the amount of duty payable on those goods. 
If you evade payment of any duty which is payable, the maximum penalty is 5 times the amount of duty on the excisable fuel products, or where a court cannot determine the amount of that duty the penalty is a maximum of 500 penalty units. 
If you do not provide all reasonable facilities for enabling us to exercise our powers under the Excise Act, the penalty is a maximum of 10 penalty units. 
If you do not provide sufficient lights, correct weights and scales, and all labour necessary for weighing material received into and all excisable fuel products manufactured in your factory, and for taking stock of all material and excisable fuel products contained in your factory, the maximum penalty is 10 penalty units. 
If we mark or seal excisable fuel products or fasten, lock or seal any plant in your factory and you alter, open, break or erase the mark, seal, fastening or lock, the maximum penalty is 50 penalty units. 
Excisable goods are goods on which excise duty is imposed. Excise duty is imposed on goods that are manufactured or produced in Australia and listed in the Schedule.
As these guidelines deal with fuel products, we have used the term excisable fuel products.
Excisable fuel products include:
- renewal diesel
- crude petroleum oil
- heating oil
- fuel ethanol, and
- compressed natural gas (CNG)
- liquefied natural gas (LNG)
- liquefied petroleum gas ((LPG).
Goods are subject to excise control from the point of manufacture until they have been delivered into home consumption or for export.
Goods subject to excise control cannot be moved, altered or interfered with except as authorised by the Excise Act.
An excise return  is the document that you use to advise us:
- the volume of excisable fuel products that you have delivered into home consumption during the period designated on your PSP, or
- the volume of excisable fuel products that you wish to deliver into home consumption following approval.
Home Consumption 
'Home consumption' is the term used in the Excise Act and this guide to describe when excisable fuel products are released into the Australian domestic market for 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 within the licensed premises (for example using fuel to run equipment in your licensed premises). It does not include goods delivered for export or the movement of goods underbond (see definition below) to another licensed site.
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. 
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.
A penalty unit is specified in section 4AA of the Crimes Act 1914 and, at the time of writing, is $170
Section 50 direction
This is a written instruction issued under section 50 of the Excise Act to a licensed manufacturer, or proprietor of licensed premises, to keep specified records, furnish specified returns, retain records for a specified period and produce those records on demand by us.
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 excise control are commonly referred to as 'underbond goods' or as being 'underbond'. This includes goods that have not yet been delivered into home consumption and goods moving between premises under a movement permission.
In this chapter we have referred to the following legislation: