Forest growers levy

​​​​​​​​​​​​​Important—you can lodge your forest growers return online.

The forest growers levy was first introduced 1 November 2007. Logs that are produced in Australia will attract the forest growers levy. Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) and Plant Health Australia (PHA) are responsible for the expenditure of the forest growers levy.

Forest growers levy rates

Logs means logs that have not undergone any form of processing other than debarking.

A mill means a premises at which logs are subjected to a process other than debarking.

A plantation means an intensively managed stand of trees of either native or exotic species that is created by the regular placement of seedlings or seeds.

The forest growers levy rate comprises research and development (R&D), PHA membership and Emergency Plant Pest Response (EPPR), as set out in the table below:

Leviable logsR&D or marketingPHAEPPR TOTAL
Plantation Logs – Exotic Softwood (Pinus sp.)  5 cents per m3   0.5 cents per m3   5 cents per m3 10.5 cents per m3
Plantation Logs – Other  5 cents per m3   0.5 cents per m3$0.00 5.5 cents per m3
Other Logs  5 cents per m3   -- 5 cents per m3

The forest growers levy is calculated per cubic metre of the log. GST is not applied to Australian Government levies.

Do I need to lodge a return and make a payment?

The producer, the person who owns the logs immediately after the trees from which the logs are produced are felled is liable to pay the levy.

As a processor of logs, you must lodge a return and make a payment to the department. You can recover from the producer the amount of levy paid to the department by offset or otherwise.

As an intermediary, including a first purchaser, buying agent or selling agent you must lodge a return and make a payment to the department. You can recover from the producer the amount of levy paid to the department by offset or otherwise.

If you produce logs and use the logs in the production of other goods, or you export the logs, you must lodge a return and make a payment to the department.

Exemptions from the forest growers levy

A producer of logs is not liable to the pay the forest growers levy if the producer uses the logs for their own domestic purposes (for household or home-related purposes).

A processor of logs is not liable to pay the forest growers levy if, the:

  1. Producers of the logs uses the logs for domestic purposes
  2. Products and by-products from processing the logs is used by the operator of the mill for domestic purposes
  3. Logs produced are from trees that were grown on a farm that is operated by the operator of the mill
  4. Logs are processed for producing fuel wood
  5. Logs are produced either as a result of landscaping or after removing trees that were a safety hazard and which were processed at the site of production
  6. Logs are processed at a mobile mill that is not permanently sited and they are processed for the purposes of producing timber products that are not chip or pulp and for which the amount of levy payable by the processor in a levy year would be $100 or less, or
  7. Logs are owned by a state or territory government body.  

State and territory bodies have agreed to make voluntary payments, equivalent to the levy, direct to FWPA. People who receive logs from these bodies cannot collect levy on those exempt logs. However, if such a body makes a voluntary payment equivalent to the levy to the receiver of logs, that person should pay those moneys to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Levies. Contact your Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Levies State Office for more information.

How do I lodge a forest growers levy return?

You must register with the department to receive a unique LRS number before you can lodge your first return.

To lodge your return online, access Levies Online. Alternatively, you can complete a manual forest growers return form.

Return and payment dates

IMPORTANT: If you pay your levy late you will incur a penalty that is calculated daily at a compounding rate of 2 per cent of the unpaid amount each month, including any penalties you have already accrued until you have paid the outstanding amount in full.

The forest growers levy is based on a financial year.

Quarterly returns and payments

Quarterly returns and payments must be lodged with the department within 28 days of the end of the quarters of March, June, September and December.

Example: for the quarter ending 30 September—if you produced, processed, bought or sold logs in the months of July, August and September— your quarterly return and payment is due to the department on or before 28 October.

Annual return and payment

As a forest growers levy payer you may be eligible to lodge your return with the department and make a payment once a year that is on or before 28 August in the next financial year.

Example: the 2017 annual financial year return and payment must be made on or before 28 August 2018. 

To be eligible for an annual return and payment, you must have reasonable grounds to believe that the amount of levy and charge for the financial year would be on less than $1000. You must also make an application to the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. If you would like to make an application please contact the department’s levies office in your state or territory.

What must be included in my return?

As a producer of logs your return for the quarter or levy year must set out for that quarter or levy year :

  1. Your personal details, including:
    1. Full name
    2. Business or residential address, not the address of a post office box or post office bag
    3. Post office box or post office bag, and
    4. Australian Business Number (ABN), or if you are a company the Australian Company Number (ACN)
  2. Period to which the return relates
  3. Quantity, in cubic metres, for leviable logs produced from:
    1. Exotic softwood trees, of the genus Pinus sp., felled in a plantation
    2. Other trees felled in a plantation and
    3. Trees felled other than in a plantation.
  4. Amount of levy payable for each of those quantities
  5. Total amount of levy payable for all leviable logs and
  6. Total amount of levy paid by the producer for the leviable logs.

As a processor of logs your return for the quarter or levy year must set out, for that quarter or levy year:

  1. Your personal details, including:
    1. Full name
    2. Business or residential address, not the address of a post office box or post office bag
    3. Post office box or post office bag, and
    4. ABN, or if you are a company the ACN
  2. Period to which the return relates
  3. For each producer on whose behalf you processed leviable logs, the:
    1. Producer’s full name, postal address, ABN, if any, and if the producer is a company and does not have an ABN – its ACN
    2. Total quantity (in cubic metres) of logs processed for the producer
    3. Amount of levy paid for the logs
  4. Total quantity (in cubic metres) of each type of leviable logs processed from:
    1. Exotic softwood trees, of the genus Pinus sp., felled in a plantation
    2. Other trees felled in a plantation, and
    3. Other trees felled other than in a plantation.
  5. Total amount of levy paid for:
    1. Each kind of leviable logs mentioned above (2a – 2c)
    2. All leviable logs processed
  6. Quantity (in cubic metres) of each kind of leviable logs mentioned above (2a – 2c) received from any of the following state or territory bodies:
    1. Department of Natural Resources and Water (ABN 83 705 537 586)
    2. Department of Sustainability and Environment (ABN 90 719 052 204)
    3. Department of Territory & Municipal Services (ABN 37 307 569 373)
    4. Forest Products Commission (ABN 69 101 683 074)
    5. Forestry Plantations Queensland (ABN 86 076 628 981)
    6. South Australian Forestry Corporation (ABN 57 969 474 679)
    7. Forestry Tasmania (ABN 91 628 769 359)
    8. Forestry Commission of New South Wales (ABN 43 141 857 613)
    9. VicForests (ABN 76 846 538 543), and
    10. Any amounts received by a body mentioned above (2a – 2c) that represent the amounts that would be payable if the body was subject to forest growers levy.

As a first purchaser, buying agent or selling agent of logs your return for a quarter or a levy year must set out for that quarter or levy year, the:

  1. Your personal details, including:
    1. Full name
    2. Business or residential address, not the address of a post office box or post office bag
    3. Post office box or post office bag, and
    4. ABN, or if you are a company the ACN
  2. Period to which the return relates
  3. For each producer on whose behalf you processed leviable logs, the:
    1. Producer’s full name, postal address, ABN, if any, and if the producer is a company and does not have an ABN – its ACN
    2. Total quantity (in cubic metres) of logs bought or sold, and
    3. Amount of levy paid for the logs.
  4. Total quantity (in cubic metres) of each the following kinds of leviable logs bought and sold:
    1. Exotic softwood trees, of the genus Pinus sp., felled in a plantation
    2. Other trees felled in a plantation, and
    3. Other trees felled other than in a plantation.
  5. Total amount of levy paid for:
    1. each kind leviable logs mentioned above (2a – 2c), and
    2. all leviable logs bought or sold.
  6. Quantity (in cubic metres) of each find of leviable logs mentioned in (2a – 2c) received from any of the following state or territory bodies:
    1. Department of Natural Resources and Water (ABN 83 705 537 586)
    2. Department of Sustainability and Environment (ABN 90 719 052 204)
    3. Department of Territory & Municipal Services (ABN 37 307 569 373)
    4. Forest Products Commission (ABN 69 101 683 074)
    5. Forestry Plantations Queensland (ABN 86 076 628 981)
    6. South Australian Forestry Corporation (ABN 57 969 474 679)
    7. Forestry Tasmania (ABN 91 628 769 359)
    8. Forestry Commission of New South Wales (ABN 43 141 857 613)
    9. VicForests (ABN 76 846 538 543), and
    10. Any amounts received by a body mentioned above (2a – 2c) that represent the amounts that would be payable if the body was subject to forest growers levy.

Primary Industries Legislation

The forest growers levy is provided for under the:

Primary Industries (Excise) Levies Act 1999, and

Primary Industries Levies and Charges Collection Act 1991.

This information is a guide only. If you are required to lodge a return and make a payment to the department it is your responsibility to remain aware of your obligations under legislation.

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