THE Australian government is looking into changing the point at which tax is payable on tobacco imports as part of reforms to tackle the illicit tobacco black market.
Minister for revenue and financial services Kelly O’Dwyer said the government was consulting on proposed amendments to the Customs Act.
“Taxing tobacco closer to its point of origin will make it harder for criminal groups to defraud the Commonwealth and Australian taxpayers. After all, our tax revenue goes to securing the essential services all Australians rely on,” Ms O’Dwyer said.
“Licensed tobacco importers will be required to pay all duties and taxes upon importation to Australia rather than as it leaves a warehouse and enters the domestic market. The point of taxation will be the same for any possible future manufacturers.”
Ms O’Dwyer said the changes would reduce criminal activity, protect Australian revenue and provide an estimated $43bn to the Commonwealth.
Minister for law enforcement and cyber security Angus Taylor said legitimate trade is an important priority.
“Leaking from warehouses to the black market contributes to almost a quarter of illicit tobacco in Australia,” he said.
“Our law enforcement and border agencies are focused on targeting revenue evasion which, if left unchecked, is ultimately channelled back into organised crime.
“These amendments will complement the work of the new Illicit Tobacco Taskforce, which only last month uncovered 17 acres of illegal tobacco crops and 6 tonnes of tobacco leaf with an estimated excise value of $13.3m.”
Public and industry submissions on the Customs Amendment (Collecting Tobacco Duties at the Border) Bill 2018 and the Treasury Laws Amendment (Collecting Tobacco Duties at Manufacture) Bill are now open.