Hard onions levy and charge

​​​​​​​Important—You can lodge your hard onions return online.

The hard onions levy and charge was first introduced 1 February 1994. Hard onions that are produced in Australia and sold by a producer or used by the producer in the production of other goods or that are exported will attract a levy or charge.

Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited and Plant Health Australia (PHA) are responsible for the expenditure of the hard onions levy and charge.

Hard onions levy and charge rates

Hard onions means a bulb of the species Allium cepa.

Retail sale means the sale of hard onions by a producer except a sale to a first purchaser, processor or exporter, or through a selling agent, buying agent or exporting agent.

The hard onions levy and charge rate comprises Emergency Plant Pest Response (EPPR), marketing, National Residue Survey (NRS) testing, Plant Health Australia membership and research and development (R&D), and shown in the table below:

Levy and charge componentLevy and charge rate
EPPR$0.00 per tonne
Marketing$1.00 per tonne
NRS$0.00 per tonne
PHA$0.10 per tonne
R&D $2.90 per tonne
TOTAL $4.00 per tonne

The hard onions levy and charge rate is calculated per tonne. The hard onions charge is not payable if the levy has already been applied to the hard onions prior to export. GST is not applied to Australian Government levies and charges.

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

A producer of hard onions, the person who owns the hard onions immediately after harvest is liable to pay the levy.

If you produce hard onions and sell your hard onions by retail sale, you must lodge a return and make a payment to the department.

If you produce hard onions and sell your hard onions through an intermediary, including a first purchaser, buying agent, selling agent, exporting agent or processor, the amount of levy or charge they pay to the department on your behalf can be recovered from you by offset or otherwise.

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

If you export hard onions—that is, you are the person who owns the hard onions at the time of export, you must lodge a return and make a payment to the department.

Exemptions from paying the hard onions levy and charge

No exemptions apply to the hard onions levy and charge.

How do I lodge a hard onions 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 horticulture 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 hard onions levy and charge is based on a calendar year.

Quarterly returns and payments

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

Example: for the quarter ending 30 June – if you bought, sold or exported hard onions in the months of April, May and June – your quarterly return is due on or before 28 July.

Annual return and payment

A producer of hard onions must lodge an annual return if in a calendar year the producer only sells their hard onions by retail sale.

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

As an intermediary or exporter of hard onions you may be eligible to lodge your return and make a payment to the department once a year, that is on or before 28 February in the next calendar year.

To be eligible for an annual return and payment, you must have reasonable grounds to believe that the total quantity of hard onion which you are likely to deal in, in a calendar year, amounts to less than 1,250 tonnes. 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 hard onions, your return for a levy year must set out for that 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 of hard onions, in tonnes, sold by retail sale
  4. Amount of levy payable, and
  5. Amount of levy paid.

As an intermediary of hard onions, including as a first purchaser, buying agent, selling agent, exporting agent or processor, 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. ABN, or if you are a company the ACN
  2. Period to which the return relates
  3. Quantity of hard onions, in tonnes, bought, sold, processed or exported
  4. Amount of levy and charge payable for each of those quantities, and
  5. Amount of levy and charge paid for each of those quantities.

As an exporter of hard onions, 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. ABN, or if you are a company the ACN
  2. Period to which the return relates
  3. Quantity of hard onions, in tonnes, exported
  4. Amount of charge payable, and
  5. Amount of charge paid.

What records do I need to keep?

As a producer of hard onions, you must keep records for five (5) years showing for each quarter or levy year, the:

  1. Quantity of hard onions, in tonnes, sold by retail or otherwise
  2. Quantity of hard onions, in tonnes, dealt with for export or otherwise
  3. Amount of levy payable for each of those quantities
  4. Amounts of levy paid for each of those quantities
  5. Total quantity of hard onions, in tonnes, dealt with, and
  6. Details for each person with whom the producer of hard onions dealt with, other than by retail sale, the persons:
    1. Name, and business or residential address (not the address of a post office box or post office bag).

As an intermediary of hard onions, including as a first purchaser, buying agent, selling agent, exporting agent or processor, you must keep records for five (5) years showing for each levy year, the:

  1. Quantity of hard onions, in tonnes, bought, sold, processed or exported
  2. Amount of levy and charge payable for each of those quantities
  3. Amounts of levy and charge paid for each of those quantities, and
  4. Total quantity of hard onions, in tonnes, dealt by the intermediary
  5. Details for each person on whose behalf the hard onions was dealt with, other than by retail sale, the persons:
    1. Name, and business or residential address (not the address of a post office box or post office bag).

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

  1. Quantity of hard onions, in tonnes, exported
  2. Total quantity of hard onions, in tonnes, exported
  3. Amount of charge payable on the export of hard onions
  4. Amounts of charge paid on the export of hard onions, and
  5. Details for each person with whom the exporter of hard onions dealt with, the persons:
    1. Name, and business or residential address (not the address of a post office box or post office bag).

Primary Industries Legislation

The hard onions levy 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.