Re: [Distillers] ACN re removal of DR 5(f)(1).htm
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tony & Elle Ackland" <Tony.Ackland@...>
> So in everyday language, does this still means that its legal for
> Australians to own a still (and not have to notify Customs) provided it is
> less than 5L (but that they are still not allowed to use it - just pretty
> to look at !) ??
Some loophole huh!
What happened was when Customs were running the show,
all the educational and research institutions complained
that they had to conform to the same rules and excise as
commercial distillers. So they changed it so that registered
institutions that had stills up to 5l in size were exempt from
excise etc. This made everybody happy - Customs
didn't want to bother about collecting excise on tiny
amounts - and teaches were happy that their
mini-stills made out of Pyrex flasks could give
demos to the school kids.
Then the Tax Office took responsibility for the act in
the mid 1990's.
They had to re-word the act to fit into the current tax laws.
The ATO stuffed up and forgot to word it so that
it mentioned who was allowed to have a still. Thus
it was passed that anyone could have one.
However, the ATO still needs to know about
ANY distillate (alcoholic or not).
They don't believe you when you say it's just for water :-)
You still need permission and register the still if you
are going to run it for any reason at all, and you
will need to pay the excise on any alcoholic product
(unless they deem you as an educational/research institution I believe).
unless you are caught by a tax officer ACTUALLY using a still
it would be very hard to convict you in court.
So it's not cost effective to the ATO to chase home distillers down
as long as you keep quiet about it.
As to the legislation, they are working on getting it changed.
The ATO know about all the 5 litre stills crossing the Tasman,
numbering in the many thousands but can't do anything about it yet.
They are trying to close the loophole but there are people discussing
with the ATO (so I've heard) about making the whole thing fully legal -
like NZ. Let's hope their minds can be changed!