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ATO PERMANENTLY EXEMPT TAKEAWAY COCKTAILS FROM EXCISE REQUIREMENTS
THE HON MICHAEL SUKKAR MP
Minister for Housing
Minister for Homelessness, Social and Community Housing
THE HON BEN MORTON MP
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Assistant Minister to the Minister for the Public Service
Assistant Minister for Electoral Matters
Wednesday 25 August 2021
ATO NOT CALLING LAST DRINKS ON TAKEAWAY COCKTAIL INNOVATION
Australian businesses have shown great innovation throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Many in the hospitality sector have adapted by providing takeaway options, including cocktails for at-home consumption.
In the early days of the pandemic state and territory governments cleared a temporary path for the sale of takeaway cocktails and repackaged beer by providing temporary exemptions to liquor licensing laws. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) chose not to enforce the licence requirements that ordinarily apply to manufacture of alcohol products.
Without the ATO exemption, bars or restaurants undertaking a second ‘manufacturing’ process by preparing takeaway cocktails and repackaging beer (into growlers and squealers) would need to be licensed as an excise manufacturer with the tax office – an extra onerous layer of regulation and reporting requirements, on top of local liquor licensing requirements.
The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Treasury and the ATO have been exploring whether takeaway cocktails could be permanently excluded from the onerous requirements of the excise system, saving businesses time and costs when the need for the temporary measures recede.
“I am pleased to announce that the ATO recently changed its guidelines to permanently exempt takeaway cocktails from excise requirements,” Assistant Treasurer Sukkar said.
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Ben Morton, said it was important to make business simple, especially at this time when the hospitality sector is being impacted by COVID-19.
Businesses that sell takeaway cocktails will still need to adhere to local and state laws and public health orders.
The ATO has also announced that, until 31 October, bars and restaurants facing COVID-19 restrictions can repackage duty-paid kegged beer for takeaway sale in sealed containers (such as growlers and squealers) without the usual excise requirements.
Consultation to cut red tape for fuel, beer and spirits sectors
The Australian Government also is inviting people to share their views on options to streamline excise administration for alcohol, along with other products.
The current excise regime for alcohol products is costly and time consuming for both for the businesses that manufacture the products, and for the agencies that administer the excise.
The Government’s Deregulation Taskforce wants distillers, brewers and operators of other similar businesses that are subject to excise requirements to share their experiences and suggestions for how to improve the current system.
To read the consultation paper and make a submission please visit the Deregulation Agenda website. Submissions are open on the consultation paper until 31 August 2021.