The Turnbull Government announced on Budget night our plan to strengthen the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) Rebate integrity rules to put the wine industry in a stronger, long term position.
The first of the Government’s integrity rule changes will be legislated as soon as possible - the associated producer provisions will be amended to help deter artificial business structuring and multiple rebate claims.
Further tightened eligibility criteria will apply from 1 July 2019. The government advised on Budget night that final details on the tightened eligibility criteria, including the definition of a winery, would be resolved through further consultation.
The additional tightened eligibility criteria will limit access to the WET Rebate to packaged, branded wine which is for sale to domestic consumers. This will exclude bulk and unbranded wine from the WET Rebate. The new criteria would also restrict access to those with a significant interest in a winery.
Consultation on implementing the tightened eligibility criteria will begin with the wine industry in the coming months. As part of the consultation, the Government will release an implementation paper and meetings will be held with stakeholders in major wine producing regions.
The Government recognises that there are a range of wine production models in the industry, including grape growers who have a real investment in the industry, but may not own equipment for crushing and fermentation.
The Government has also moved to reduce the WET Rebate threshold levels to mitigate gaming of the system that has led to distortions in the wine market in recent years. The changes will return the Rebate to its original policy intent of supporting small wine producers in rural and regional Australia.