The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) will campaign to protect unlicensed manufacturers that blend biodiesel and diesel fuels in depot tanks from excise licensing laws that threaten to significantly reduce biodiesel consumption in the transport industry. The unlicensed manufacturers will soon learn if they face retrospective fines from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). ATA CEO Stuart St Clair said:
Under the current administration of the fuel tax laws, it is unclear how they affect operators who store diesel in a depot tank containing some leftover biodiesel, or who add biodiesel to a tank with a few litres of diesel left at the bottom.
Blending any amount of biodiesel and diesel is considered to be manufacturing an excisable product, unless the tax office has issued an exemption. Excise product manufacturers are required to hold an excise licence. There are heavy penalties for manufacturing without a licence. Operators could also face retrospective liability for incorrect fuel tax and energy grants credit claims.
The ATA approached the tax office on the issue of depot tank blending last year, and it commissioned a review. We urged the tax office to consider whether the exemption that currently applies to blending fuels in the tank of a vehicle could be extended to cover depot tank blending before it is used on the road.
The ATO, during the Fuel Schemes Advisory Forum in March, is due to hand to the ATA its review into biodiesel excise regulations.