Sugar cane levy

​​​​​​​Important—You can lodge your sugar cane return ​online.

The sugar cane levy was first introduced 26 May 1987. Sugar cane that is produced in Australia and processed will attract a levy.

Sugar Research Australia and Plant Health Australia are responsible for the expenditure of the sugar cane levy.

Sugar cane levy rates

Sugar cane means stalks whether whole or not of the sugar cane plant, or stalks whether whole or not and leaves of the sugar cane plant.

A processing establishment in relation to sugar cane means a premises in Australia that if during a season the premises processes sugar cane that amounts or amounted to 3,000 tonnes or more.

The sugar cane levy rate comprises Emergency Plant Pest Response (EPPR), research and development (R&D), as shown in the table below:

Sugar cane levy componentLevy rate
R&D 70 cents per tonne
TOTAL 70 cents per tonne

The sugar cane levy rate is calculated per tonne. GST is not applied to Australian Government levies.

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

As a processor of sugar cane, you must lodge a return and make a payment to the department. You can recover 50 per cent of the total levy from the producer by offset or otherwise.

If sugar cane is being processed by an establishment on behalf of the owner of the sugar cane, the owner of the sugar cane is the producer.

If a processing establishment processes sugar cane that it has grown itself, it is the producer of the sugar cane.

If a person sells sugar cane to a processing establishment, they are the producer of the sugar cane.

Sugar cane is taken to be sold to a processing establishment when the first payment for the sugar cane is made, whether the payment represents the whole, or part only, of the purchase price for the sugar cane.

Exemptions from paying the sugar cane levy

No exemptions apply to the sugar cane levy.

How do I lodge a sugar cane 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 sugar cane 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 sugar cane levy is based on a season that begins on 1 March and ends on 28 February the following year.

You can pay your levy in two (2) instalments. The first instalment of at least 60 per cent of the total levy payable must made on the same day as your return is due.

The second and final instalment to pay the reminder of the levy is due on 28 February in the following calendar year.

Monthly returns and payments

Monthly returns and payments must be lodged with the department within 28 days of the end of the month in which the transaction took place.

Example: for the month of July, the return and payment is due to the department on or before 28 August.

What must be included in my return?

As a processor of sugar cane your return for a month, in respect of that month, must include:

  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. Name and address of the processing establishment
  4. Quantity of sugar cane sold to, or processed at, the processing establishment
  5. Amount of levy payable, and
  6. Amount of levy that has been paid in regard to your first instalment payment of at least 60 per cent of the total levy payable.

What records do I need to keep?

As a processor of sugar cane you must keep records showing, in respect of each month, the:

  1. Name and address of each producer who sells sugar cane to you or for whom sugar cane is processed
  2. Quantity of sugar cane sold by, or processed, for each producer
  3. Amount (if any) that you deducted or recovered from each producer for the sugar cane
  4. Amount of levy that you paid
  5. Total amount of levy payable, and
  6. Total amount of levy paid.

Primary Industries Legislation

The sugar cane 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.