Levies frequently asked questions

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Should I be Paying Levies?​

If you grow, produce or distribute Australian food and/or agriculture p​roduce you may be required to pay a levy on that product.

To determine if you should be paying a levy, and for more detailed information on each levy, please click on the commodity group below and refer to the relevant Information Sheet.

Who should keep records? Which records? How long should they keep them for?

Anyone who lodges returns to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources – Levies must keep records supporting the information they supplied in their returns and anyone who pays levy/export charge to an intermediary must keep information on those payments. They must keep these records for five (5) years and must make them available to Department of Agriculture – Levies officers.

For more information on record keeping, please contact your Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Levies state office.

Are there any penalties for late payments or other offences?

If you pay your levy late, you will be penalised at the rate of 2% per month. This will compound on the total of the unpaid amounts, including any penalties you have already accrued, until you have paid the outstanding levy in full.

There are also penalties for other breaches of the legislation. For more information, please contact your Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Levies state office.

How do I lodge my return?

Lodge your return one of these ways.

The best way to lodge your return is online via the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Levies online form.

Scan a copy of your completed and signed return form and email it to Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Levies management.

Fax a copy of your completed and signed return form to free fax 1800 609 150. Mail your completed and signed return form to:

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources – Levies
Locked Bag 4488
KINGSTON ACT 2604

To receive Department of Agriculture and Water Resources – Levies information and reminder notices electronically, write your business email address on your return form.

How do I pay?

The best way to pay is by electronic funds transfer (EFT). Your payment will be secure and you will assist the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources – Levies to reduce its processing time and minimise errors.

EFT

Transfer your payment to:

Bank: Reserve Bank of Australia
BSB: 092009
Account number: 111700
Account name: AFFA Official Administered Receipts
Reference: enter the prefix ‘LRS’ followed by your Levies account number and your business name—for example, LRS12345 AZ Wholesale.

Cheque/money order

Mail a cheque or money order (made payable to ‘Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Levies’) along with your return form to:

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Levies
Locked Bag 4488
KINGSTON ACT 2604

What is the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Levies?

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Levies (formerly Levies Revenue Service) administers, collects and disburses levies and charges on rural commodities and products under the authority of Commonwealth legislation.

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Levies collects the levies and distributes them to Levy Recipient Bodies (LRBs). It also distributes the Australian Government’s matching R&D contributions.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources – Levies recovers its costs under the Australian Government cost recovery guidelines.

Still unsure about paying levies?


Levies online

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Do I have to lodge my return online?

No. Online lodgement is not compulsory, however this is our preferred method for return lodgement.

Will Levies Online replace the hardcopy return process?

No. There will always be a facility for lodging hardcopy returns. Levy payers should lodge returns online or hardcopy, not both

Does it cost anything to register and lodge online returns?

No, there is no charge to register and lodge your returns online.

What are the advantages of online lodgement?

  • Minimises the possibility of error and loss of returns

  • Provides levy payers with the ability to update their details and view returns from the past twelve months

  • Reduces the risk of error when calculating levies payable

  • Reduces paper use and the transactional costs of processing returns manually

How do I register if I haven't paid levies before?

Will online lodgement work in remote locations or using dial-up internet?

Yes.

Can I make amendments to an online return once lodged?

No. Once a return is lodged all amendments and requests for refund must be arranged through the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Levies Central Office.

What computer application do we need to use online?

Internet access is required. No additional applications are required to use Levies Online.

What happens if the server goes down while I'm in the middle of entering a return?

If a server malfunction occurs your return will be placed in a queue until the server becomes available.

Is the information used on the Levies Online website safe?

Yes. Levies online is password protected and all possible security arrangements have been made to protect your data. However, we recommend you consult your internet specialist to ensure you take all necessary security measures when logging on.

Levies Online do not accept responsibility for any loss, disruption or damage to your data or your computer system which may occur whilst using material derived from this website.


​Arrangements for activating emergency response levies

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What is an emergency response deed?

The emergency response deeds are formal legally binding agreements between the Australian Government, all state and territory governments, Plant Health Australia or Animal Health Australia and plant and animal industry signatories covering the management and funding of responses to pest and disease incursions.

The deeds provide a formal role for industry to participate and assume a greater responsibility in decision making in relation to emergency plant and animal pest responses. There are three formal agreements that set out emergency response arrangements for pest and disease incursions across the animal, plant and environmental sectors.

These are:

  1. The National Environmental Biosecurity Response Agreement (NEBRA) – for incursions that primarily impact the environment and/or social amenity – including marine.
  2. The Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement (EADRA) – for incursions that primarily impact animals
  3. The Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD) – for incursions that primarily impact plants

The EADRA and EPPRD set out cost sharing and other responsibilities of the government and relevant industry parties in an emergency response. The agreements are supported in most cases by statutory levy arrangements which enable livestock and plant industries to fund their share of costs of emergency responses.

What are emergency response levies for?

Emergency response levies are established to enable industry signatories to meet financial liabilities for eradication of pests and diseases under the Emergency Plant Protection Response Deed (EPPRD) and Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement (EADRA).

Response costs are shared with industry signatories to the EADRA and EPPRD in accordance with the respective deed provisions. If needed, the Australian Government can underwrite an industry’s share of the cost of a response to an incursion, provided the industry can demonstrate a repayment mechanism. Signatories to the deeds are required to undertake steps to request implementation of a levy for their industry, in order to ensure that this liability can be met.

Industries affected by a pest or disease may pay their agreed cost-share of an emergency response from industry reserves, voluntary contributions or through an emergency response levy.

How long does it take to activate an emergency response levy?

The new streamlined process for activation of emergency response levies will be faster than the usual levy process, as the 3-6 month consultation requirement does not apply. However, because the activation of a levy requires the amendment of legislation, the process could still take several months.

How does the emergency response levy work?

The deeds require industry signatories to start the process of establishing an emergency levy within six months of signing either deed. This is to ensure that industries have a mechanism in place to meet cost-sharing obligations if affected by a pest or disease incursion.

Emergency response levies are typically introduced at a nil rate on the understanding that they will be activated (set to a positive rate) when an industry party has agreed to contribute to a cost-shared emergency eradication response and has sought Commonwealth support through a levy.

How do I pay my emergency response levy?

Information on the collection or payment of levies.

Why has the usual consultation requirement been replaced by a notification requirement in the case of activations of emergency response levies?

The activation of these levies is considered exceptional as to establish a zero rated levy, the industry has been consulted and majority support received for activation in the event of a relevant response.

Additionally, industry signatories to the response deeds have a legally binding commitment to meet the financial commitments they incur as affected parties in an agreed emergency response. In practical terms, this means that, unless an industry can meet these commitments in another way, the levy will need to be activated, as previously agreed and supported by industry members.

For these reasons, the process for requesting the activation of an emergency response levy has been simplified, in recognition that the requirements for consultation and demonstration of majority support have already been met. However, a 30-day formal objection period is still required. This objection period provides levy payers the opportunity to provide feedback and lodge any objections.

Does this affect other levies?

It is important to note that the new streamlined requirements only apply to the activation of emergency response levies where activation is required in order to meet costs incurred as part of an emergency eradication response for which the industry member is an affected party. The introduction of emergency response levies, or changes to those levies for any other purpose, would require full industry consultation as set out in the Australian Government Levy Principles and Guidelines. This is because the requirements to show widespread consultation with levy payers and majority support for the proposed levy or levy change, and its intended use, would not yet have been met.

How do I lodge my concern as part of the objection period?

When an industry body provides levy payers with objection period details, it must provide contact information for the lodgement of objections. This will include information for both the industry body and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

The objection needs to come from a potential levy payer and should clearly outline the reasons why the levy proposal is opposed. Most importantly, it should include evidence of the stated opposition to the levy proposal. All objections must be considered by the industry body as part of the levy proposal assessment process.

What if I believe my concerns are not dealt with adequately?

The relevant industry body will need to report any objections received during the objection period. The industry body will be informed of any objections sent directly to the department. Industry bodies may respond directly to those lodging objections, but this is not required.

The industry body will then be required to inform the department of the objections received and how objections have been resolved or addressed.

If you believe that your concerns have not been dealt with adequately, please engage first with the industry body wanting to activate the levy. If you are still not satisfied that your concerns have been adequately addressed or answered, please contact the department by email Levies Management.
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