Cotton levy and Seed cotton levy and charge

​​​Important—You can lodge your cotton and seed cotton return online.

The cotton levy was first introduced 1 March 1983. The seed cotton levy and charge was introduced 1 April 2017. Cotton that is produced and processed in Australia will attract the cotton levy. Harvested seed cotton that is intended for export will attract a levy or charge. The Cotton Research and Development Corporation and Plant Health Australia (PHA) manage the expenditure of the cotton levy and seed cotton levy and charge.

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Cotton levy and Seed cotton levy and charge rates

Leviable cotton means the natural fibrous hairs produced from seed cotton separated from the seeds and not further processed.

Seed cotton means cotton seed with the natural fibrous hairs attached as extracted from the ripened bolls of a cotton plant.

The cotton levy rate and the seed cotton levy and charge rates comprise Emergency Plant Pest Response (EPPR), PHA membership and research and development (R&D), as shown in the table below:

Levy componentCotton levy rateSeed cotton levy and charge rate
EPPR$0.00$0.00
PHA$0.04 per 227 kilograms$0.07 per tonne
R&D$2.21 per 227 kilograms$3.99 per tonne
TOTAL $2.25 per 227 kilograms $4.06 per tonne

The cotton levy rate is calculated per 227 kilograms of cotton. The seed cotton levy and charge rates are calculated per tonne. GST is not applied to Australian Government levies and charges. The seed cotton charge is not payable if the levy has already been applied to the seed cotton prior to export.

Do I need to lodge a return and make a payment?

A producer, the person who owns the leviable cotton or the person who owns the seed cotton immediately after harvest or exports the seed cotton is liable to pay the cotton levy or the seed cotton levy and charge.

Cotton: As an intermediary, including a receiver (the person who received cotton for processing) or a processor (the person who produced the leviable cotton), you must lodge a return and make a payment to the department. You can recover from the producer the amount of levy paid to the department, by offset or otherwise.

Seed cotton: As an intermediary, including a selling agent, buying agent or exporting agent, you must lodge a return and make a payment to the department. You can recover from the producer the amount of levy or charge paid to the department, by offset or otherwise.
If you export seed cotton – that is, you own the seed cotton at the time of export – you must lodge a return and make a payment to the department.

Exemptions from paying the cotton and seed cotton levy and charge

No exemptions apply to the cotton levy.

A producer of seed cotton is not liable to pay the seed cotton levy if the seed cotton was processed in Australia.

How do I lodge a return for cotton and seed cotton?

You must register with the department to receive a unique LRS number before you can lodge your first return.

To lodge your return online, access Levies Online. Alternatively, you can complete a manual cotton return form.

Return and payment dates

IMPORTANT: If you pay your levy or charge late you will incur a penalty that is calculated at a compounding rate of two (2) per cent of the unpaid amount each month, including any penalties you have already accrued, until you have paid the outstanding amount in full.

The cotton and seed cotton levy and charge is based on a financial year.

Monthly returns and payments

Monthly returns and payments must be lodged with the department within 28 days after the end of that month.

Example: for the month of July, the return and payment is due to the department on or before 28 August.

What must be included in my return?

As a processor of cotton, your return for a month must set out in respect of the month:

  1. Your personal details, including:
    1. Full name
    2. Business or residential address, not the address of a post office box or post office bag
    3. Post office box or post office bag, and
    4. Australian Business Number (ABN), or if you are a company the Australian Company Number (ACN)
  2. Period to which the return relates
  3. Quantity of cotton produced or received
  4. Amount of levy payable
  5. Amount of levy paid, and
  6. Details for each person on whose behalf the leviable cotton was dealt with, the :
    1. Person’s full name, postal address, ABN, if any, and if the person is a company and does not have an ABN – its ACN
    2. Amount of levy paid.

As a producer who exported seed cotton, or where there is no intermediary in relation to the sale, purchase, receipt or export of seed cotton, your return for a month must set out in respect of the month:

  1. Your personal details, including:
    1. Full name
    2. Business or residential address, not the address of a post office box or post office bag
    3. Post office box or post office bag, and
    4. ABN, or if you are a company the ACN
  2. Period to which the return relates
  3. Quantity of seed cotton, in tonnes
  4. Amount of levy or charge payable
  5. Amount of levy or charge paid, and
  6. Details of the person (if any) from whom the seed cotton was purchased or to whom the seed cotton was sold, the :
    1. Person’s full name, postal address, ABN, if any, and if the person is a company and does not have an ABN – its ACN.

As an intermediary, including a selling agent, buying agent or exporting agent of seed cotton, your return for a month must set out in respect of the month, the:

  1. Period to which the return relates
  2. Quantity of seed cotton, in tonnes
  3. Amount of levy or charge payable and
  4. Your full name, business or residential address (not the address of a post office box or post office bag) and ABN, if any, or if the person is a company and does not have an ABN, its ACN.

As an exporter of seed cotton, your return for a month must set out in respect of the month:

  1. Your personal details, including:
    1. Full name
    2. Business or residential address, not the address of a post office box or post office bag
    3. Post office box or post office bag, and
    4. ABN, or if you are a company the ACN
  2. Period to which the return relates
  3. Quantity of seed cotton, in tonnes
  4. Amount of charge payable, and
  5. Amount of charge paid.

What records do I need to keep?

As a processor of cotton, you must keep records showing for five (5) years setting out for each month, the:

  1. Quantity of leviable cotton produced or received in the month
  2. Amount of levy payable, and
  3. Amount of levy paid.

As a producer of seed cotton who exported seed cotton, or where there is no intermediary in relation to the sale, purchase, receipt or export of seed cotton, you must keep records for five (5) years setting out for each month, the:

  1. Quantity of harvested seed cotton, in tonnes, bought, sold or exported in the month
  2. Amount of levy and export charge payable
  3. Amount of levy and export charge paid
  4. Details for each person from whom the seed cotton is purchased or to whom the seed cotton is sold, including the persons:
    1. Full name, business or residential address (not the address of a post office box or post office bag) and ABN, if any, or if the person is a company and does not have an ABN, its ACN.
  5. Copy of the return and bills of lading or similar documents showing details of the export, and
  6. The date on which each consignment of seed cotton is entered for export.

As an intermediary, including as a selling agent, buying agent exporting agent of seed cotton, you must keep records showing for five (5) years setting out for each month, the:

  1. Quantity of harvested seed cotton, in tonnes, bought, sold or exported in the month
  2. Amount of levy and export charge payable for the seed cotton
  3. Amount of levy and export charge paid for the seed cotton
  4. Details for each person on whose behalf the seed cotton was dealt with, the persons:
    1. Full name, business or residential address (not the address of a post office box or post office bag) and ABN, if any, or if the person is a company and does not have an ABN, its ACN.
  5. Copy of the return and bills of lading or similar documents showing details of the export and
  6. The date on which each consignment of seed cotton is entered for export.

A producer who harvested on which levy was imposed and who is not required to lodge a return in relation to that seed cotton, you must keep records showing for five (5) years setting out, the:

  1. Quantity of harvested seed cotton in tonnes
  2. Amount of levy payable for the seed cotton
  3. Amount of levy deducted by an intermediary for the quantity of seed cotton
  4. The personal details of the person (if any) to whom the seed cotton was sold, the persons:
    1. Full name, business or residential address (not the address of a post office box or post office bag) and ABN, if any, or if the person is a company and does not have an ABN, its ACN.
  5. The personal details of the intermediary, including the persons:
    1. Full name, business or residential address (not the address of a post office box or post office bag) and ABN, if any, or if the person is a company and does not have an ABN, its ACN.

Primary Industries Legislation

The cotton levy and the seed cotton levy and charge are provided for under, the:

Primary Industries (Excise) Levies Act 1999

Primary Industries (Customs) Charges Act 1999, and

Primary Industries Levies and Charges Collection Act 1991.


This information is a guide only. If you are required to lodge a return and make a payment to the department it is your responsibility to remain aware of your obligation under legislation.