Frequently Asked Questions
If you have a question that is not answered below or you have a general question about levies please contact us.
What commodities have a levy payer register?
Sugar cane, notice published on 31 May 2019 to establish levy payer register, for levy return period commencing 1 June 2019 at the request of Sugar Research Australia.
Coarse grains, grain legumes, oilseeds and wheat, notice published on 12 June 2019 to establish levy payer register, for levy return period commencing 1 July 2019 at the request of the Grains Research and Development Corporation.
Grape research (fresh and dried grapes) and wine grapes, notice published on 5 July 2019 to establish a levy payer register, for levy return period commencing 1 July 2018 at the request of Wine Australia.
Wool, notice published on 27 August 2020 to establish levy payer register, for levy return period commencing 1 January 2021 at the request of Australian Wool Innovation Limited.
When do I need to provide levy payer information as part of my return?
You will need to provide levy payer information as part of the June 2019 return. The June 2019 return is due by 28 July 2019 and relates to sugar cane traded between 1 June and 30 June 2019.
From that return on, you will need to provide levy payer information as part of each monthly return.
Please note that information about both the producer of the sugar cane and the sugar mill will need to be included. This is because the producer and the mill each pay 50 per cent of the sugar cane levy. If the sugar mill is also the producer of the sugar cane then the information you provide should reflect this.
Coarse grains, grain legumes, oilseeds or wheat
You will need to provide levy payer information as part of the September 2019 quarterly return. The September 2019 return is due by 28 October 2019 and relates to coarse grains, grain legumes, oilseeds and wheat traded between 1 July and 30 September 2019.
From that return on, you will need to provide levy payer information as part of each quarterly return.
Grape research (fresh and dried grapes)
You will need to provide levy payer information as part of the 2018–19 annual return. The 2018–19 annual return is due by 30 September 2019 and relates to grapes delivered to a processing establishment between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019.
From that return on, you will need to provide levy payer information as part of each annual return.
You will need to provide the levy payer information as part of the January 2021 monthly return. The January 2021 monthly return is due by 28 February 2021. The annual return for 2021-22 is due to the department on or before 28 August 2022.
*Note: The Levy Payer Register does not apply to the 2020-21 annual wool levy returns for transactions between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021, due on 28 August 2021
From that return on, you will need to provide the levy payer information as part of each monthly & annual returns.
Who is a levy payer?
A levy payer is the person who is liable to pay the levy and are often the producer of the product.
For example the person who owns the product immediately before it is first sold, processed or exported. Normally a levy payer will pay levy through a collection agent as a part of a transaction.
What type of information do I need to provide?
In addition to the information you already include as part of your return, you will need to provide the following information about each levy payer you have dealt with:
- the name of the levy payer
- contact details including the person’s phone number, email address (if available), address, suburb, state and post code
- ABN (if any) or ACN (if any) and
- the amount of levy or charge each levy payer has paid or is liable to pay.
What if I don’t have the right information about levy payers?
Under legislation you are already required to keep records about levy payers. We encourage you to confirm what records you should keep about the people you deal with by accessing information in the relevant commodity information page.
The department recognises there may be instances when you may not be able to obtain all the details you are required to include in a levy return, for a commodity that is subject to a digital levy payer register. If you are unable to obtain any or all levy payer information, you must declare a ‘reasonable excuse’ on the levy return form prior to finalising and submitting the form. You must maintain a record of the ‘reasonable excuse’ and your efforts to gather the missing information. We have updated our online system so you can make a declaration and finalise a levy return in this situation.
For example, a ‘reasonable excuse’ to not provide the levy payer information may include that a person has put in place effective arrangements to meet legislative requirements for collecting and providing levy payer details – for example, evidenced by updated enterprise systems and/or processes; but is still not able to obtain the relevant information.
How do I declare a ‘reasonable excuse’ if I am not able to provide all required levy payer information?
There is now a section on the levy return form where you can make a declaration that you are unable to provide all the required information and that you have a ‘reasonable excuse’ to support this. This is in addition to declaring that the particulars set out in the return are correct in every essential detail.
The levy return form also includes detailed text regarding a ‘reasonable excuse’, including examples of the types of evidence you may gather as proof of efforts to obtain all required levy payer information, which will be displayed before you can submit the levy return.
How will this new process affect the department’s compliance activities?
Penalties under Section 15 of the Primary Industries Levies and Charges Collection Act 1991 relating to the late provision of levy or charge do not apply to the non-provision of levy payer information.
The department will generally not pursue a levy collection agent for not providing levy payer information where they have provided a ‘reasonable excuse’ declaration. The department may engage in follow‑up contact with levy collection agents to offer education and assistance about the requirement to provide levy payer information on a case-by-case basis.
There will be no changes to the department’s existing program of levies compliance verification and auditing as a result of this new declaration process relevant to levy payer registers. The provision of levy payer information will not be a factor in determining the department’s program of levies compliance verification and auditing activities. Further information on the department’s levies compliance processes is available under the Compliance section in the Report to Levies Stakeholders.
How can I submit levy payer information?
- Levies Online – log in and manually enter levy payer information as part of the return process.
- Levies Online – log in and upload a CSV file.
For more information about how to upload a CSV file refer to the relevant commodity user guide to complete and upload the levy payer template.
You can also refer to the Levies Online User Guide for more information. These documents are available on the Levies Online home page.
- Manual – complete the hard copy template as part of the return process. You can access the manual return forms.
I collect levies from a lot of levy payers. Do I have to make an entry for each one?
Yes, you will need to provide information about every levy payer you deal with in the return period.
Levy payer information can be provided at a consolidated level (one entry for a levy payer who you dealt with multiple times during the period).
Alternatively, you can provide levy payer information at a transactional level (a levy payer who you dealt with multiple times during the period will have the same number of entries).
To help you manage this process the department has developed an upload template that you can complete and submit as a CSV file. The upload template is available for Levies Online users only and you can download a copy of the template once you have logged in to Levies Online.
Can I provide an upload file with a different file type format?
No, the upload function can only support a CSV file. Other file types are unable to be accepted by the system.
Will I need to make changes to my software?
This will depend on the software you use. If you can extract information to CSV, there will be minimal changes that you will need to make. If you don’t use a software program to keep records and you don’t deal with a large number of levy payers you can enter the information directly into Levies Online or submit a hard copy return.
I don’t collect levy from anyone, I pay my own levies. How does this impact me?
You will need to submit information about yourself. You can include this information in the section where someone would provide information about other levy payers.
Why isn’t the information being collected from levy payers directly?
The simplest and most cost effective way for this information to be collected is through the people and businesses that already deal with producers and levies. This is because under legislation a person who collects levy on behalf of a producer is already required to keep records about the people they have dealt with.
If the information I submit about a levy payer changes will I need to amend my return?
No, you won’t need to amend levy payer information unless it has been provided incorrectly. However, you do need to ensure that the information you include in your return is current at the time you lodge your return and if you become aware that a person’s details have changed you update your records before the next return period.
Can I choose to opt out of the levy payer register?
No, if you are required to lodge a return on behalf of a producer, or you are a producer and lodge your own return, you must submit levy payer information if a register has been established for commodity you usually submit a return for.
Who will access and use this information?
The department may disclose information collected in returns to industry bodies, levy recipient organisations and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, provided the disclosure is consistent with relevant laws, in particular the Primary Industries Levies and Charges Collection Act 1991 and the Privacy Act 1988.
Please refer to the Levy payer registers page for information about the use of levy payer information, governance and privacy.
I’m new to Levies, how do I set-up an account or get started?
You can call the department on 1800 020 619 or email Levies management.