Forest industries products levy and charge

​​​​​​​​​​​Important—You can lodge your forest industries products return online.

The forest industries products levy was first introduced 1 July 1994. Logs that are produced in Australia and are delivered to a mill in Australia for processing or that are exported from Australia will attract a levy or charge. Forest and Wood Products Australia is responsible for the expenditure of the forest industries products levy and charge.

Forest industries products levy and charge rates

Logs that have not undergone any form of processing other than debarking and are exported from Australia will attract the forest industries products charge at the same levy rate that would be applied to logs if they had been produced in Australia and delivered to a mill for processing.

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 industries products levy and charge rates for each class of log are set out in the table below:

Class of log Levy and charge rates
Cyprus sawlog:
Cypress logs that are intended and suitable for making timber products
22 cents per cubic metre
Export woodchip hardwood pulplog:
Hardwood logs that are intended and suitable for the production of woodchips for export
3.5 cents per cubic metre
Export woodchip softwood pulplog:
Softwood logs that are intended and suitable for the production of woodchips for export
0 cents per cubic metre
Hardwood sawlog:
Hardwood logs that are intended and suitable for making timber products
29 cents per cubic metre
Low-grade softwood sawlog:
Softwood sawlogs that are intended and suitable for making:
(a) Packaging products including timber packing, pallets and crates, or
(b) Horticultural products including trellises, stakes, sleepers, fence posts and palings, or
(c) Tile battens.
8 cents per cubic metre
Paper pulplog:
Logs that are intended and suitable for making paper or pulp products
0 cents per cubic metre
Plywood and veneer log 15 cents per cubic metre
Softwood roundwood log 8 cents per cubic metre
Softwood sawlog:
Softwood logs, other than cypress sawlogs, that are intended and suitable for timber products other than products mentioned under the low-grade softwood sawlog class.
29 cents per cubic metre
Wood panels pulplog 10 cents per cubic metre

The forest industries products levy and charge is calculated per cubic metre of the log. The forest industries products charge is not payable if the levy has already been applied to the forest industries products prior to export. GST is not applied to Australian Government levies and charges.

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

The operator of the mill to which the logs are delivered is liable to pay the levy. If an operator of a mill operates more than one mill to which logs are delivered, a single return must be lodged containing all details for each mill of which the producer is the operator.

An exporter of logs must lodge a return to the department and make a payment.

Exemptions from the forest industries products levy and charge

The forest industries products levy is not payable by a person if, the:

  1. Products and by-products from processing the logs is used by the operator of the mill for domestic purposes (for household or home-related purposes)
  2. Logs were produced from trees that were grown on a farm by the operator of the mill and are for use on that farm
  3. Logs are processed for producing fuel wood
  4. Levy has already been applied, or
  5. Charge has already been applied.

The forest industries products levy and charge is not payable if the total amount of levy or charge that a person would be liable to pay for the financial year amounts to less than $330. This amount also includes any amount of import charge that may also be applied to a consignment entering Australia on behalf of that person.​

How do I lodge a forest industries products levy and charge 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 industries products return form.

Return and payment dates

IMPORTANT: If you pay your levy or charge 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 industries products levy and charge 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 producer or exporter of forest industries products 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 2017-18 annual 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 an operator of a mill(s), your return for a 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 of each class of logs delivered to each mill
  4. Amount of levy payable for each class of logs
  5. Total amount of levy payable, and
  6. Total amount of levy paid.

As an exporter, your return for a quarter or 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. Quantity in cubic metres of each class of logs exported from Australia
  4. Amount of charge payable for each class of logs
  5. Total amount of charge payable, and
  6. Total amount of charge paid.

What records do I need to keep?

As an operator of a mill(s), you must keep records for five (5) years, showing for each quarter or levy year, the:

  1. Quantity in cubic metres of each class of logs delivered to each mill
  2. Amount of levy payable for each class of logs
  3. Total amount of levy payable, and
  4. Total amount of levy paid.

As an exporter, you must keep records for five (5) years, showing for each quarter or levy year, the:

  1. Quantity in cubic metres of each class of logs exported from Australia
  2. Amount of charge payable for each class of logs
  3. Total amount of charge payable, and
  4. Total amount of charge paid.

Primary Industries Legislation

The forest industries products levy and charge is provided for under the:

Primary Industries (Excise) Levies Act 1999

Primary Industries (Customs) Charges 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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