For everyone Wine: a taxing question

  • By Paddy Kendler
  • This article was published more than 3 years ago.
  • 11 Sep 2020

Regular imbibers should be interested to learn that a proposal to tax wine by volume rather than value, first mooted more than a decade ago, is still alive and simmering.

Such a tax, likely to involve a per-litre impost regardless of price, would at least double the price of cask and cheaper bottled wine, while significantly cutting the price of expensive wine – assuming producers pass savings on to the consumer.

A volumetric tax is a flat tax, regardless of income. It was last widely promoted by former Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen in the 1970s. Fortunately, for most of us, the proposal went nowhere and Joh never did make it to The Lodge.

New flat taxes are not mere pipe-dreams for a few political players. The federal government believes a volumetric tax on wine will produce more revenue. The health lobby supports extra taxes on alcohol because it believes it will reduce consumption, much like taxes on tobacco.

But government and wowsers are very uneasy allies here: while the health lobby wants to see consumption plummet, the flat-taxers want it to remain at its current rate, at least. Be alert, not alarmed (yet).


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