The Federal Government has scrapped plans to further cut the Wine Equalisation Tax cap from $500,000 to $290,000 but will push ahead with a reduction to $350,000.
The changes will come into force on July 1 next year and will affect who can claim the rebate.
- Producers must own 85 per cent of the grapes at the crusher used to make the wine and maintain ownership throughout the wine making process.
- Limited to branded packaged wine, in a container not exceeding 5 litres and branded with a registered trademark for domestic retail sale.
- Rebate claims must be linked to the WET being paid.
- Bulk/unbranded wine remains ineligible.
- There are also plans for an ‘exceptional circumstances’ waiver, meaning producers won’t lose their rebate if their grapes are damaged by frost or storms.
The current system had been criticised by industry figures for benefiting big resellers of wine while disadvantaging genuine Australian winemakers. New Zealanders remain eligible for the WET rebate under the new policy.
Wine Equalisation Tax: Cautious optimism
Altitude Advisory business advisor Elouise Barker said South Australian wine producers have reacted to the changes with ‘cautious optimism’.
“There was definitely a feeling in the industry that something had to change as the current setup left the system open to being used unfairly by certain entities.
“There were also criticisms that the criteria benefitted larger traders and retailers over smaller operations so we are hopeful that the changes might go someway to redress the balance.
“It was good news that they scrapped the plan to drop the rebate to $290,000, which we think would have been excessive, however there may be areas where the changes could have a negative impact on the smaller operators. We hope the new eligibility criteria doesn’t disadvantage the smaller players that the changes were meant to benefit. ”
Barker said Altitude Advisory was now working with several wine producers to ensure that they were familiar with the new rules in time for the implementation on July 1 next year.
“As with any legislative changes that affect an entire industry, there is always going to be some concerns and doubts so it’s absolutely crucial that businesses understand exactly what those changes will mean for them.”