Nursery products levy

​​​The nursery products levy was first introduced 1 October 1989. Potted plants that are produced in Australia and used by the producer in the production of other goods or sold by a producer will attract a levy. Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited and Plant Health Australia (PHA) are responsible for the expenditure of the nursery products levy.

Nursery products levy rates

A potted plant means a nursery product in a growing medium in a container.

Nursery products means trees, shrubs, plants, seeds, bulbs, corms, tubers, propagating material and plant tissue cultures, grown for ornamental purposes or for producing fruits, vegetables, nuts or cut flowers and foliage.

A container means any container that is designed for use in the production or preparation of a nursery product for sale or for use in the production of other goods, and are to be the immediate container of the nursery product.

The landed cost in relation to containers that are purchased from an overseas seller by a producer means the total amount paid by the producer to take possession of the containers, including the price of the containers, taxes or charges relating to the containers paid in a foreign country, the cost of transporting the containers to Australia, the cost of insurance associated with the transportation of the containers, customs agent’s feed incurred for the transportation or importation of the containers and other costs incurred by the producer in taking possession of the containers in Australia.

The landed cost does not include the cost of delivering the containers to the producer in Australia or any other costs incurred after the producer takes possession of the containers.

The nursery products levy rate comprises Emergency Plant Pest Response (EPPR), marketing, PHA membership and research and development (R&D), as shown in the table below:

Levy componentNursery products levy rate
EPPR0 per cent
Marketing2 per cent of the sale price or landed cost of the container
PHA0.25 per cent of the sale price or landed cost of the container
R&D 2.75 per cent of the sale price or landed cost of the container
TOTAL 5 per cent of the sale price or landed cost of the container

The nursery products levy rate is calculated as a percentage of the sale price or landed cost of a container. GST is not applied to Australian Government levies.

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

A producer of potted plants, the person who places nursery products in a growing medium in containers or buys containers on behalf of a person who places nursery products in a growing medium in containers, is liable to pay the levy.

If you are a producer that imports containers from an overseas seller and uses them to produce potted plants, you must lodge a return and make a payment to the department.

If you purchase containers from a seller in Australia, you must pay the seller an amount on account of levy or penalty within three months after the end of the month in which you bought the containers.

If you are an Australian seller of containers, you must lodge a return and make a payment to the department.

Exemptions from paying the nursery products levy

A person is not liable to pay the nursery products levy if the person informs the seller of the containers in writing that they do not intend to use those containers for producing leviable nursery products.

How do I lodge a nursery products return?

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

To lodge your return, you must complete a manual return form for nursery products.

Levies Online is not available for nursery products.

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 nursery products levy is based on a financial year.

Quarterly returns and payments

Quarterly returns and payments must be lodged with the department within 21 days of the end of the quarters of March, June, September and December.

Example: for the quarter ending 30 September—if you imported containers for the production of potted plants or received payments for the nursery products levy in the months of July, August and September— your quarterly return and payment is due to the department on or before 21 October.

What must be included in my return?

As a producer who imports containers, your return for a quarter must set out for that quarter:

  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. Landed cost of containers
  4. Amount of levy payable for the containers, and
  5. Amount of levy paid for the containers.

As a seller of containers, your return for a quarter must set out for that quarter:

  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. Amount received from the sale of leviable containers
  4. Total amount on account of levy received
  5. Details for each amount on account of levy received from a producer in a quarter including, the:
    1. Amount paid
    2. Date of receipt
    3. Return period, that is the last month of each quarter in which the amount was due to have been received, and
  6. Details for each person from whom the levy payment was received, the persons:
    1. Full name, business or residential address, not the address of a post office box or post office bag, and ABN, if any, or if the person is a company and does not have an ABN, its ACN.

    As a seller of containers who has not yet received a levy payment from a producer, your return for a quarter that is in addition to the requirements listed in the section above, must include for that quarter, the:

    1. Amount of unpaid levy
    2. Return period, that is the last month of each quarter, in which the amount was due to have been received, and
    3. Details for each person who is liable to pay the outstanding levy amount, the persons:
      1. Full name, business or residential address (not the address of a post office box or post office bag) and ABN, if any, or if the person is a company and does not have an ABN, its ACN.

    As a seller of containers who has received penalty payments from producers, your return for a quarter, in addition to the requirements for a ‘seller of containers’, must include for that quarter, the:

    1. Details for each person from whom the penalty payment was received, the persons:
      1. Full name, business or residential address (not the address of a post office box or post office bag) and ABN, if any, or if the person is a company and does not have an ABN, its ACN.

    What records do I need to keep?

    As a producer who purchases containers from sellers in Australia, you must keep records for five (5) years showing for each month, the:

    1. Total amount paid for the containers
    2. Amount of levy payable for the containers
    3. Amount of levy paid to a seller, and
    4. Date of each levy payment made to a seller.

    As a producer who imports containers, you must keep records for five (5) years showing for each month, the:

    1. Total landed cost of the containers
    2. Amount of levy payable for the containers, and
    3. Amount of levy paid for the containers.

    As a seller of containers, you must keep records for five (5) years showing for each month, the:

    1. Total amount received from the sales of containers
    2. Details for each producer who purchased containers, the producer’s:
      1. Full name, business or residential address (not the address of a post office box or post office bag) and ABN, if any, or if the person is a company and does not have an ABN, its ACN.
    3. Amount received from each sale of containers
    4. Total amount received from containers that are exempt from levy
    5. Details for each person who was exempt from paying levy containers, the persons:
      1. Full name, business or residential address (not the address of a post office box or post office bag) and ABN, if any, or if the person is a company and does not have an ABN, its ACN.
    6. Details for each amount of levy payment received from a producer in a quarter, including the:
      1. Amount received
      2. Date of receipt
      3. Return period, that is the last month of each quarter, in which the amount was due to have been received, and
    7. Details for each person from whom the levy payment was received, the persons:
      1. Full name, business or residential address (not the address of a post office box or post office bag) and ABN, if any, or if the person is a company and does not have an ABN, its ACN.

    Primary Industries Legislation

    The nursery products 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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