Wood products levy information

​​​​​​Important—the tariff classification codes including the charge imposed on forest products imported into Australia is administered by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

​​​​​​Important—You can lodge your forest and wood return online.

Why is there a levy/export charge and import charge on forest and wood products?

The Australian Government introduces levies, export and import charges at the request of industry. These levies variously fund research and development, marketing, residue testing, plant and animal biosecurity programs and emergency responses for industry.

The forest and wood products levy covers logs delivered to a mill for processing, logs exported and certain imported forestry products. The forest and wood products levy and export charge funds Forest & Wood Products Australia (FWPA) forest and wood products research and development (R&D) and marketing. To find out more, visit Forest and Wood Products Australia.

What is the levy/export charge and import charge payable on?

Levy is payable on logs produced in Australia and delivered to a mill for processing.

Export charge is payable on logs produced in and exported from Australia as unprocessed wood.

Import charge is imposed on logs and certain classes of primary processed forest products imported into Australia.

Who pays the levy/export charge and import charge? Who submits returns?

The producer (the miller and/or exporter) is liable to pay the levy and export charge and submit return forms to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Levies.

The producer (the importer) is liable to pay the import charge and submit information to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. To pay your import charge invoice, visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Download a return form or contact your Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Levies state office.

What is the levy/export charge on forest and wood products?

The levy and export charge rates are:

  • softwood sawlogs (other than cypress sawlog): 29 cents per cubic metre
  • cypress sawlogs: 22 cents per cubic metre
  • hardwood sawlogs: 29 cents per cubic metre
  • plywood and veneer logs: 15 cents per cubic metre
  • wood panel pulplogs: 10 cents per cubic metre
  • low grade softwood sawlogs: 8 cents per cubic metre
  • softwood roundwood logs: 8 cents per cubic metre
  • export woodchip hardwood pulplogs: 3.5 cents per cubic metre
  • export woodchip softwood pulplogs: nil
  • paper pulplogs: nil.

Australian Government levies exclude GST.

Are there any exemptions from this levy/export charge?

Levy is not payable if:

  • the operator intends to use the products and by-products from processing the logs for domestic and not commercial purposes
  • the operator produced the logs from trees grown on their farm and intends to use the products and by-products from processing the logs on the farm
  • the logs are processed for the purpose of producing fuel wood
  • levy has already been paid on the logs
  • export charge has already been paid under schedule 7 to the Primary Industries (Customs) Charges Act 1999 or under the repealed Forest Industries Research Export Charge Act 1993
  • the total amount of levy and charge that the person is liable to pay for the year is less than $330 in a levy (financial) year*.

When is the payment due?

Quarterly returns

The return together with payment must be submitted to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Levies within 28 days of the end of the quarters of March, June, September and December. For example, the return and payment for the quarter ending 30 June—that is, for the months of April, May and June—are due on or before 28 July.

Annual returns

A mill operator or exporter may apply through the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Levies for an exemption from the requirement to lodge quarterly returns for a levy (financial) year* if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the levy/export charge payable will be less than $1000. If the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Levies grants an exemption, they must lodge returns annually.

The return together with payment must be submitted to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Levies on or before 28 August in the next levy (financial) year. For example, the return and payment for the 2012-13 levy (financial) year* are due on or before 28 August 2013.

Please contact your Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Levies state office for an application for exemption form or for more information on annual returns.

General information and definitions

The levy/export charge rates are calculated per cubic metre.

'Logs' are logs that have not undergone any form of processing other than:

  • debarking, or
  • any other process prescribed by regulations. Current regulations do not include any prescribed processes other than debarking.

*A levy year for forest and wood products is a financial year—that is, 1 July to 30 June.

What legislation covers this levy/export charge and import charge?

A legislative framework of imposition, collection and disbursement legislation authorises and supports Australia’s primary industries levies system. These are the relevant Acts:

Primary Industries (Excise) Levies Act 1999
Primary Industries (Customs) Charges Act 1999
Primary Industries Levies and Charges Collection Act 1991

Please note that, under section 27 of the Primary Industries Levies and Charges Collection Act 1991, an authorised Department of Agriculture and Water Resources officer can release the names and addresses of levy payers to industry bodies and levy recipient organisations.

Download the legislation from ComLaw or call CanPrint Information Services on 02 6293 8383 to purchase a copy.

This information sheet is a guide only and does not substitute for the relevant legislation.

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