Onion levy information

​​​​Important—You can lodge your horticulture return online.

Why is there a levy/export charge on hard onions?

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 hard onion levy and export charge funds Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited (HIAL)​ hard onion research and development (R&D) and marketing and Plant Health Australia (PHA) membership. To find out more, visit Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited​ and Plant Health Australia.

What is the levy/export charge payable on?

Levy is payable on hard onions produced in Australia where the producer either sells the product or uses it in the production of other goods.

Export charge is payable on hard onions produced in and exported from Australia. No export charge is payable if domestic levy has already been paid on the product to be exported.

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

The producer (the person who owns the hard onions immediately after harvest) is liable to pay the levy.

If the producer sells their produce through an intermediary, such as a first purchaser, buying agent, selling agent or processor, the intermediary must pay levy and submit all return forms on behalf of the producer. The intermediary can recover from the producer the amount of levy paid, by offset or otherwise.

If the producer sells hard onions other than by retail sale - for example, to restaurants or wholesale markets - the producer must pay levy quarterly and submit all return forms to the Department of Agriculture - Levies.

If the producer sells hard onions by retail sale—for example, direct to the consumer at roadside stalls or through shed or farm gate sales—they must pay levy and submit all return forms directly to the Department of Agriculture - Levies.
The producer—that is, the person who owns the product at the time of export from Australia—is liable to pay the export charge and submit return forms to the Department of Agriculture - Levies.

If the producer exports the product through an exporting agent, the agent must pay the charge and submit all return forms to the Department of Agriculture - Levies on behalf of the producer. The agent can recover from the producer the amount of charge paid from the producer (the owner of the product at the time of export).

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

What is the levy/export charge rate on hard onions?

Domestic and export: $4 per tonne.

Rates are current as at 1 July 2014.

Australian Government levies exclude GST.

Are there any exemptions from this levy/export charge?

No exemptions apply.

When is the payment due?

Quarterly returns

The return together with payment must be submitted to the Department of Agriculture - 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 31 March—that is, for the months of January, February and March—are due on or before 28 April.

Annual returns

Producers who sell hard onions by retail sale must submit annual rather than quarterly returns.

The return together with payment must be submitted to the Department of Agriculture - Levies on or before 28 February in the next levy (calendar) year*. For example, the return and payment for the 2014 levy (calendar) year* are due on or before 28 February 2015.

A first purchaser, buying agent, selling agent or exporter may apply through the Department of Agriculture - Levies for an exemption from the requirement to lodge quarterly returns for a levy year* if they have reasonable grounds to believe that they will deal with less than 1250 tonnes of hard onions in the year.

Please contact your Department of Agriculture - 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 tonne.

A 'retail sale' is a sale by the producer of the hard onions and not to a first purchaser or through an agent.

*A levy year for hard onions is a calendar year—that is, 1 January to 31 December.

What legislation covers this levy/export 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 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.