The recent ATO Consultation paper, notes:
The significant concern for our members is that our competitors may be making a product that looks like an RTD in the consumer eyes but is only taxed at the beer concessional rate and is thus significantly cheaper than our members spirits based product.
The Australian Distillers Association propose making a submission along the lines that it remains anachronistic that two alcoholic beverages with the same alcoholic strength have significantly different tax liabilities based on the fact that one product is brewed and the other is distilled. There is an urgent need for the Federal Government to consider the implications of this tax treatment, both in terms of government revenue and other policy objectives. While we recognise that broader tax reform of alcohol products is beyond the scope of this guidance and is a longer term project, it is our view that, in the meantime, there needs to be clear ATO advice backed by strong enforcement of the existing taxation rules.
Australian Distillers Association would like to see more detail in the draft Guidance to reflect some of our concerns about whether products are correctly categorised for tax treatment.
While we do not know how individual producers of brewed seltzers and fruity beers are defining their products for the purposes of alcohol tax, we remain concerned that there are products on the market retailing at prices which imply they are paying lower (beer) tax rates, while the products themselves do not present as meeting the definition of beer under the Excise Tariff Act.
Australian Distillers Association
Suite 1601, 447 Kent Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000
ABN 77 622 845 275