The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has said it will now permanently adopt the changes it made to the licence requirements that normally apply to the manufacture of alcohol products.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first brought lockdowns last year pandemic state and territory governments cleared a temporary path for the sale of takeaway cocktails and repackaged beer by providing temporary exemptions to liquor licensing laws. With the ATO also not enforcing its licence requirements.

Without the ATO exemption, bars or restaurants undertaking a second ‘manufacturing’ process by preparing takeaway cocktails and repackaging beer (into growlers and squealers) would need to be licensed as an excise manufacturer with the tax office – an extra onerous layer of regulation and reporting requirements, on top of local liquor licensing requirements.

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Treasury and the ATO have been exploring whether takeaway cocktails could be permanently excluded from the onerous requirements of the excise system, saving businesses time and costs when the need for the temporary measures recede.

“I am pleased to announce that the ATO recently changed its guidelines to permanently exempt takeaway cocktails from excise requirements,” Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said.

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Ben Morton, said it was important to make business simple, especially at this time when the hospitality sector is being impacted by COVID-19.

Businesses that sell takeaway cocktails will still need to adhere to local and state laws and public health orders.

The ATO has also announced that, until 31 October, bars and restaurants facing COVID-19 restrictions can repackage duty-paid kegged beer for takeaway sale in sealed containers (such as growlers and squealers) without the usual excise requirements.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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