Nursery products levy information

​​​Why is there a levy on nursery products?

The Australian Government introduces levies and export 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 nursery products levy funds Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited (HIAL)​ nursery products research and development (R&D) and marketing. To find out more, visit Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited​ website.

What is the levy payable on?

Levy is payable on potted plants produced in Australia where the producer either sells the product or uses it in the production of other goods. However, for ease of collection, the producer pays the levy when they purchase pots (prescribed goods) to be used in producing or preparing a nursery product for sale or to be used in producing other goods, such as repotted or propagated nursery products for later sale.

Who pays the levy? Who submits returns?

The producer of the potted plants is liable to pay the levy.

However, the seller of nursery pots—that is, the pot manufacturer, distributor or any other person who sells pots to producers of potted plants— must pay levy and submit all return forms to the Department of Agriculture - Levies on behalf of the producer. The seller can recover from the producer the amount of levy paid, by offset or otherwise.

If a producer imports nursery pots and uses them to produce potted plants, they must pay levy and submit all return forms to the Department of Agriculture - Levies.

Download a return form or contact your Department of ​Agriculture - Levies state office.

What is the levy? Who submits returns?

Nursery products: 5% of sale price# of the container.

Nursery products: 5% of the landed cost* price of the container.

# Sale price of the container is taken not to include GST. The levy is a separate calculation, exclusive of GST consideration.

*See 'General information and definitions' for details.

Rates are current as at 1 October 2013.

Australian Government levies exclude GST.

Are there any exemptions from this levy?

No levy is payable on containers purchased by state governments.

However, companies purchasing containers to provide services to a state government are liable to pay levy. Municipal councils purchasing pots for propagation of plants for resale are liable to pay levy. 

When is the payment due?

Quarterly returns

The return together with payment must be submitted to the Department of Agriculture - Levies on or before the 21st day after 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 21 July.

General information and definitions

The levy rate is calculated on the basis of a percentage of the sale price of the container.
A 'container' is any container that is designed:

  • for use in the production or preparation of a nursery product for sale or for use in the production of other goods
  • to be the immediate container of the nursery product.

The 'landed cost' is the total amount paid by the producer to take possession of the containers, including:

  • the price of the containers
  • taxes or charges relating to the containers paid in a foreign country
  • the cost of transporting the containers to Australia
  • the cost of insurance associated with the transportation of the containers
  • customs agents' fees incurred for the transportation or importation of the containers
  • other costs incurred by the producer in taking possession of the containers in Australia

but not including the cost of delivering the containers to the producer in Australia or any other costs incurred after the producer takes possession of the containers.

Nursery products include: trees, shrubs, plants, seeds, bulbs, corms, tubers, propagating material and plant tissue cultures grown for ornamental purposes or for producing fruits, vegetables, nuts or cut flowers and foliage. Seedlings grown for reafforestation purposes (state government or otherwise) are not classified as nursery products. Therefore, the containers used for their propagation are not leviable.

What legislation covers this levy?

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 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 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.