Beer repackaging exemptions extended by ATO

The easing of rules allowing venues to repackage duty-paid kegged beer and cocktails for takeaway is being extended until next year.

Venues previously had to have a manufacturer licence and pay additional excise duty on any beer repackaged into growlers, canimals or other containers within the venue.

Since 23rd March the ATO has not been enforcing these rules, which would have placed financial and regulatory burdens on venues looking to sell kegged stock during the nationwide lockdowns.

Now the ATO has extended this support arrangement to 31st January 2021 “in recognition of the ongoing impacts COVID-19 is having on the alcohol industry”. It previously only planned for the exemptions to be extended until 30th September 2020.

It applies to venues like clubs, pubs and restaurants that were told last year that they would need to have the manufacturers licence to offer repackaging options like growlers or face fines of up to $23,100.

These venues, which have been affected by COVID-19 restrictions, have been allowed to sell takeaway alcohol under state liquor licensing arrangements.

“This is a time of significant uncertainty and we will need to be flexible in how we help business,” the ATO said in a statement on their website.

“We are committed to providing you with the latest information about how we will treat certain activities during these times.”

The ATO will review the arrangements in January to determine whether an extension is required.

Growlers and repackaged cocktails have provided a lifeline for venues during the lockdown period in which on-premise revenues dried up, but individual states have received backlash for their handling of growler regulations.

In Queensland, brewers were forced to use plastic milk containers to enable them to resell kegged beer after the state ruled that refilling standard glass growlers would go against COVID-19 sanitation standards.

Visit the ATO website for information about tax office measures and support during COVID-19.

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