13.6 Revenue from tobacco taxes in Australia

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For most forms of taxation, revenue can be expected to increase over time due to increases in population and consequently the number of people from whom tax may be collected. As outlined in Section 13.1, smokers are only moderately price sensitive, and–as outlined in Section 13.2–duties have been indexed and duties and fees on tobacco products have been periodically increased over the past 30 years. The increasing number of potential smokers and increased level of tax might lead one to expect tobacco tax revenue to have risen significantly since the 1970s. However, offsetting the effects of population growth and increased tobacco taxes, population use of tobacco has been falling steadily since the 1980s due to the combined impact of increased costliness, awareness about health risks, declining social acceptability of smoking, campaigns encouraging quitting, improved treatments for tobacco dependence, and greatly reduced opportunities for smoking. This section examines the changes in revenue from tobacco products that result from the combined impact of increased population, increased tax rates and steadily falling consumption.

13.6.1 Federal revenue from tobacco products to June 2000

As described in Section 13.2.1, the value in real terms of the federal duty payable on tobacco products remained fairly steady in the early part of the century but fell in the late 1970s and the early 1980s due to the effects of inflation. The value of the duty was restored with indexation in 1983 and once again remained steady until a series of increases in the early 1990s.

Table 13.6.1 shows the total revenue received by the federal government from excise duty on tobacco products for selected years until 1980 and then for every year until 2000. It shows the amount of tobacco dutied in each year, the total revenue from excise duty collected in current dollars, and the same total expressed in constant 1989–90 dollars. Figure 13.6.1 plots excise collected per person (Australians of all ages) in $1989–90 for every fifth year since 1965.

Table 13.6.1
Federal excise revenue on tobacco: total tobacco dutied and excise duty, selected years 1964–65 to 1999–2000, Australia

Year ended 30 June

Total tobacco dutied (customs plus excise)

Duty paid (excise only)

Excise duty
paid in constant dollars

million kg

$,000*

$,000†

1965

26.89

188 980

1 259 867

1970

29.61

245 860

1 429 419

1975

33.09

472 914

1 758 045

1980

31.46

703 214

1 555 783

1981

31.53

706 812

1 430 070

1982

31.90

724 410

1 327 366

1983

30.37

794 039

1 304 912

1984

29.83

856 245

1 316 794

1985

29.32

889 017

1 311 235

1986

29.17

961 072

1 307 581

1987

28.12

1 009 203

1 256 009

1988

27.85

1 091 776

1 265 827

1989

27.43

1 145 787

1 237 685

 1990

28.01

1 262 427

1 262 427

1991

26.44

1 274 043

1 210 205

1992

26.76

1 330 278

1 240 063

1993

24.01

1 299 711

1 199 272

1994

23.70

1 347 842

1 221 425

1995

23.48

1 509 058

1 324 897

1996

21.18

1 614 386

1 359 769

1997

21.52

1 713 085

1 424 307

1998

20.26

1 648 740

1 371 094

1999

20.42

1 633 736

1 341 051

2000

n/a

1 658 906

1 330 051

Sources: Amounts dutied: Australian Bureau of Statistics, as for Table 2.2.1 in Chapter 2, Section 2.2.1; CPI: Australian Bureau of Statistics 20061; Revenue: Australian Tobacco Marketing Advisory Board 1994,2 Willis1995,3 Australian Taxation Office 20064

* Current rate: the rate in the applicable year; no adjustment has been made for inflation

† Expressed in 1989–90 dollars

Note: Figures include only revenue from excise duty. Revenue from customs duty would have added a further 5% to 10% to these figures–for instance an extra $92 million in 1998–99.

Figure 13.6.1.jpg

Figure 13.6.1
Excise collected per person, 1965 to 2000, Australia

Sources: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2010 Australian Bureau of Statistics, as for Table 13.6.1; 3201.0 Population by Age and Sex, Australia, States and Territories5

Note: Excise duty revenue expressed in constant 1989–90 dollars

Total revenue increased in current dollars in every year apart from 1993, 1998 and 1999. In real terms, revenue fell between 1980 and 1986 and fluctuated between 1987 and 2000. Revenue from federal duty was highest in real and per capita terms in the mid-1970s, the period when smoking prevalence in Australia was at its highest (see Chapter 1). Federal revenue paid per capita gradually declined in real terms until, by 1999–2000, it was just a little over half of what it had been at its peak in 1975.

The large real reduction in per capita federal revenue between 1965 and 2000 results from an 85% increase in the population,5 and a 20% reduction in the total amount of tobacco consumed (as can be seen in column 2, Table 13.6.2), but only a 40% real increase in the level of duty payable (see Section 13.1, Figure 13.1.2).

13.6.2 State revenue from tobacco products to June 2000

Over the late 1980s and early 1990s, licence fees on tobacco wholesalers or retailers were an increasingly important source of revenue for state and territory governments. Table 13.6.2 shows the revenue to each jurisdiction between 1974, when business franchise fees on tobacco were first introduced in Victoria, and 1997, when the fees were effectively invalidated by the High Court ruling (see Section 13.2.2 for a full explanation). It also shows revenue from 1997–98 to June 2000i from tobacco replacement fees. Tobacco replacement fees ended in July 2000 under the terms of the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Reform of Commonwealth–State Financial Relations6 that put into place the reforms to the tax system including the introduction of a goods and services tax (GST).7

Table 13.6.2
Revenue collected from Australian state and territory tobacco licence fees, 1975 to 1997, and from tobacco replacement arrangements from 1997–98 to 1999–2000

 Year ended 30 June

NSW

 Vic

Qld

WA

SA

Tas

ACT

NT

Total

$million*

 1975

1

1

2

1976

19

12

4

6

41

1977

31

25

8

7

71

1978

36

26

8

8

78

1979

39

30

9

10

88

1980

42

35

10

12

98

1981

45

38

10

11

2

106

1982

46

42

12

15

4

1

120

1983

51

48

17

16

5

2

139

1984

70

84

47

29

10

2

241

1985

78

105

50

39

14

5

291

1986

113

107

57

39

19

5

9

349

1987

157

113

62

41

19

8

10

410

1988

170

113

65

44

26

8

10

436

1989

204

127

50

71

51

27

9

11

548

1990

282

174

126

93

55

33

11

13

788

1991

297

224

136

111

85

34

11

17

916

1992

388

268

159

108

92

34

16

18

1 058

1993

585

360

271

129

145

41

22

22

1 568

1994

633

446

367

212

192

63

31

31

1 971

1995

647

439

403

248

185

76

33

36

2 067

1996

871

591

501

282

212

83

39

43

2 622

1997

947

651

554

293

236

86

41

48

2 855

1998a

82

59

48

24

21

7

4

4

2 497

1998b

811

544

476

277

224

80

36

47

249

1998 total

894

604

524

301

245

88

40

51

2 746

1999

1044

701

613

357

289

104

47

60

3 214

2000

1083

727

635

370

299

108

49

62

3 332

2001

21

14

12

7

6

2

1

1

64

Sources: Australian Tobacco Marketing Advisory Committee 1994,2 Appendix Q, to 1993–94; ABS199978, p20,21; Victorian State Revenue Office, Compilations of state franchise fees on tobacco, all states and territories, electronic file provided to M Scollo, The Cancer Council Victoria August 19979; Costello 199810 and 1999,11 Table 8, Revenue replacement payments to the states; Costello 200012 Table 28, Revenue replacement payments to the states; Costello 200113 Table 28, Revenue replacement payments to the states and territories

* Current dollars: the price in the applicable year; no adjustment has been made for inflation

† Residual revenue that was received after the end of the 1999–2000 financial year

Between 1975 and 1997 revenue from state and territorial tobacco taxes increased (without adjustment for inflation) more than one thousand-fold from just under $2.5 million in 1975 to just over $2.85 billion in 1996–97. Revenue to states and territories peaked in 1999–2000. Between 1988–89 (by which time all jurisdictions had instituted fees) and 1999–2000 (at which time tobacco replacement payments were phased out) revenue to states and territories from this source increased by 500%–by 350% in real terms.

13.6.3 Federal revenue from tobacco products since July 2000

Excise revenue received from tobacco following the introduction of new tax arrangements implemented between November 1999 and February 2001 is set out in Table 13.6.3.

Table 13.6.3
Annual excise revenue from tobacco products, Australia, 2000–01 to 2010–11

Year ending June

Total excise revenue from cigarettes, cigars, smoking tobacco and other tobacco products

Total excise revenue from cigarettes, cigars, smoking tobacco and other tobacco products

$million*

$million 2010†

2001

4 637.48

4 376.10

2002

4 840.58

4 441.09

2003

5 212.26

4 638.78

2004

5 240.00

4 556.19

2005

5 293.00

4 492.66

2006

5 290.00

4 350.95

2007

5 387.00

4 300.98

2008

5 657.00

4 352.18

2009

5 711.00

4 237.36

2010

5 742.00

4 140.33

2011

6 420.00

4 560.69

2012

6 449.00

Sources: Australian Taxation Office 2006,4 201114 and Swan 201215

* Current rate: the rate in the applicable year; no adjustment has been made for inflation

† Expressed in 2000 dollars

** Listed as $6 387 in the Final Budget Outcomes released six months earlier in October 2011

Between 2001 and 2010, federal excise revenue on tobacco products increased by about 24% in current dollar terms, a real decline of just under 4%. The increase between 2001 and 2011 was 38%, an increase of just under 4% in real terms.

Customs revenue received on tobacco following the introduction of the 1999–2001 tax reforms is set out in Table 13.6.4.

Table 13.6.4
Annual customs revenue from tobacco products, Australia, 1999–2000 to 2010–11: cigarettes, cigars, other tobacco products and total

Year ending June

Customs revenue from cigarettes

Customs revenue from cigars

Customs revenue from smoking tobacco and smokeless tobacco

Total customs revenue from cigarettes, cigars, smoking tobacco and other tobacco products

$million*

1999

63.48

22.27

168.59

254.34

2000

132.58

22.82

130.94

286.34

2001

174.31

24.09

178.05

376.45

2002

170.34

25.54

203.46

399.34

2003

205.97

27.56

216.75

450.28

2004

147.14

27.89

272.94

447.17

2005

194.45

31.05

293.23

518.74

2006

209.26

28.24

302.76

540.26

2007

237.4

28.26

317.74

583.40

2008

238.75

22.98

345.17

606.91

2009

291.04

23.02

332.72

646.80

2010

334.60

26.16

352.31

713.07

2011

620.87

30.00

446.52

1097.37

Customs revenue has increased substantially since 1999 in line with increasing quantities cigarettes produced offshore since the merger of Rothmans Holdings and WD and HO Wills Holdings and the entry into the market of Imperial Tobacco, which does not operate production facilities in Australia (see Section 10.4.3).

13.6.4 Total federal and state revenue from tobacco products

Table 13.6.5 sets out total excise revenue from tobacco products combined with total revenue from state fees and tobacco replacement payments until 2000.ii

Table 13.6.5
Federal and state/territory revenue arising from excise duty, tobacco licensing fees, tobacco replacement fees and GST, 1974–75 to 1999–2000, Australia

Year ending June 30

Federal excise revenue*

Total state/territory revenue

Total federal and state tax revenue from tobacco

$,000†

1975

472 914

2 496

475 410

1976

541 537

40 922

582 459

1977

561 310

70 533

631 843

1978

559 228

77 890

637 118

1979

653 409

88 209

741 618

1980

703 214

98 223

801 437

1981

706 812

105 968

812 780

1982

724 410

120 374

844 784

1983

794 039

138 906

932 945

1984

856 245

241 386

1 097 631

1985

889 017

290 908

1 179 925

1986

961 072

348 880

1 309 952

1987

1 009 203

410 025

1 419 228

1988

1 091 776

435 583

1 527 359

1989

1 145 787

548 297

1 694 084

1990

1 262 427

788 323

2 050 750

1991

1 274 043

916 050

2 190 093

1992

1 330 278

1 057 781

2 388 059

1993

1 299 711

1 568 203

2 867 914

1994

1 347 842

1 971 223

3 319 065

1995

1 509 058

2 067 000

3 576 058

1996

1 614 386

2 622 000

4 236 386

1997

1 713 085

2 855 684

4 568 085

1998

1 648 740

‡ 2 746 353

4 395 093

1999

1 633 736

3 213 700

4 847 436

2000

1 658 906

3 332 200

4 991 106

Sources: Australian Tobacco Marketing Advisory Council 1994,2 Appendices O and Q; ABS 19978 and 200621 Table 4, 1999–2000, Table 5, 2000–01; Victorian Office of Revenue Compilations 1997;9 Willis3 1998,10 (and Fahey) 1999,11 200012 and 2001;13 Australian Taxation Office 2007;21 Costello 200722

* Revenue from customs duty is not included in these figures.

† Current rate: the rate in the applicable year; no adjustment has been made for inflation

‡ The revenue going to state and territories between 1997–98 and 2000–01 is in the form of tobacco revenue replacement grants.

From July 2001 under the new tax system tobacco replacement payments to states and territories ceased, and all federal excise duty on tobacco products was retained by the federal government. All revenue from the GST has been distributed to states in line with the terms of the Intergovernmental Agreement.6 Revenue from the GST on tobacco products is not reported separately from other GST revenue but can be calculated based on information about revenue from tobacco sales. Estimated total revenue from the GST on tobacco products is also set out in Table 13.6.6. The proportion of revenue going to each state and territory is adjusted for various demographic and economic factors as per the Intergovernmental Agreement,6 spelled out in detail each year in Part IV of the Federal Financial Relations sections of Final Budget Outcome reports.19iii

Table 13.6.6
Annual revenue from tobacco products, Australia, 2000–01 to 2010–11: excise revenue, customs revenue and estimated GST revenue

Year ending June

Total excise and customs revenue from cigarettes, cigars, smoking tobacco and other tobacco products

Estimated GST revenue from sales of tobacco products

Total estimated revenue from excise and customs duties and GST on tobacco products

Total estimated revenue from excise and customs duties and GST on tobacco products

$million*

$million 2010†

2001

5 013.93

783.27

5 797.21

7 469.37

2002

5 239.93

821.18

6 061.11

7 984.58

2003

5 662.54

862.90

6 525.45

7 929.25

2004

5 687.96

875.81

6 563.78

7 794.34

2005

5 811.73

932.81

6 744.64

7 816.35

2006

5 830.27

940.00

6 770.27

7 602.88

2007

5 970.40

956.36

6 926.76

7 558.08

2008

6 263.91

989.09

7 253.00

7 654.13

2009

6 357.79

997.45

7 355.24

7 526.50

2010

6 455.07

1 037.18

7 492.25

7 492.254

2011

7 517.37

1 225.36

8 742.74

8 480.07

Sources: Excise and customs revenue data to 2003 provided by email by the Australian Taxation Office to K Lindorff of The Cancer Council Victoria 2006; Australian Taxation Office 200721; GST revenue calculated from the value of retail sales on tobacco products, Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011 ABS 5206.0 Australian National Accounts, Private Final Consumption23

* Current rate: the rate in the applicable year; no adjustment has been made for inflation

† Expressed in 2010 dollars

Data on revenue from excise and customs duty (from Tables 13.6.3 and 13.6.4) are provided in Table 13.6.6 along with estimates of GST revenue from the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products since 2000–01. This represents total tax revenue from sales of tobacco products in Australia for the 11 years to 2010–11.

Total revenue in 2010 was no higher than it was in 2001. Revenue has increased by about 13% in real terms between 2001 and 2011.

Increases in state and territory licence fees resulted in considerable real increases in state and territory income from this source, in contrast to the much more limited growth in federal income.iv Between 1984–85 and 1999–2000, revenue to the federal government almost doubled, but revenue to states and territories increased 10-fold. Revenue to both the federal government and to states and territories has also increased since 2000–01 in current dollar terms.

Total revenue per capita (federal and state combined) in constant dollar terms is plotted in Figure 13.6.3.

Figure 13.6.2.jpg

Figure 13.6.2
Federal and state/territory revenue: 1975 to 2010, Australia

Sources: As for tables 13.6.5 and 13.6.6

Notes: Federal data prior to 2000 is excise revenue only. Data for 2000, 2005 and 2010 includes revenue from customs duty. Customs duty prior to 2000 was very low.

Figure 13.6.3.jpg

Figure 13.6.3
Total revenue from tobacco per capita (federal and state/territory combined): 1975 to 2010, Australia

Sources: As for Table 13.6.6

Note: Revenue expressed in 1989–90 dollars

As can be seen from Figure 13.6.3, in real terms total revenue per head of population increased sharply between 1990 and 1995 and then again between 1995 and 2000. Total revenue per head of population in 2010 was lower in real terms than it was in 2000 and 2005.

13.6.5 Revenue from tobacco taxes as a proportion of total government revenue

It is sometimes said that governments are reluctant to tackle tobacco use in the community because of reliance on income from tobacco taxes. Table 13.6.7 sets out revenue from tobacco products as a percentage of total government revenue in 1998–99 before reforms to the tax system, in 2003–04 and in 2010–11.

As can be seen from Table 13.6.7, tobacco tax revenue as a percentage of total government revenue declined sharply for states and territories following introduction of the reforms associated with the new tax system.7 Tobacco tax revenue as a percentage of total revenue increased significantly for the Australian government but still represents only a very small percentage of total government revenue–less than 2.5% in 2010–11.

Table 13.6.7
Tobacco tax revenue as a percentage of total government revenue: Australian government and state and territory governments combined, 1998–99, 2003–04 and 2010–11

1998–99

2003–04

2010–11

$million*

Australian government

Tobacco tax revenue (customs and excise)

1 888.1

5 688.0

7 517.37

Total government revenue

137 222.0

209 560.0

288 075.0

Tobacco tax as a % of total revenue

1.4

2.7

2.6

State and territory governments combined

Tobacco tax revenue

†3 213.6

875.8

1 225.4

Total government revenue

34 426.0

40 394.0

58 121.0

Tobacco tax as a % of total revenue

9.3

2.2

2.1

Total Australian and state and territory governments

Tobacco tax revenue

5 101.8

6 563.8

8 742.7

Total government revenue

171 648.0

249 954.0

346 196.0

Tobacco tax as a % of revenue

3.0

2.6

2.5

Sources: Table 13.16 and Australian Bureau of Statistics 200024 and ABS 200620

* Current rate: the rate in the applicable year; no adjustment has been made for inflation

† This figure is from the Final Budget Outcomes Statement. The figure listed in the ABS publication was $3 217.0, possibly a transcription error.

13.6.6 International comparisons in tobacco tax revenue as a proportion of total government revenue

Table 13.6.8 lists tobacco excise tax revenue as a proportion of total tax revenue for a number of countries for which data were available in 2005.

Table 13.6.8
Tobacco excise tax revenue as a proportion of total tax revenue, selected countries, 2005

% tobacco excise made up of total government revenue in EU member states and other selected countries

Sweden

0.7

Slovenia

0.8

Denmark

0.9

Finland

1.2

Netherlands

1.5

Belgium

1.8

Lithuania

1.8

Ukraine

1.8

Austria

2.0

France

2.1

United Kingdom

2.2

Italy

2.3

Latvia

2.3

Ireland

2.6

Germany

2.8

Spain

2.9

Hungary

3.2

Estonia

3.4

Cyprus

3.6

Portugal

3.7

Slovakia

4.0

Czech Republic

4.0

Poland

4.8

Malta

4.9

Greece

5.6

Romania

5.8

Bulgaria

6.8

Luxembourg

7.3

Indonesia (2007)

8.4

Source: European Commission 200825

At the time this analysis was prepared, the contribution of revenue from tobacco to total government revenue was comparable in percentage terms in Australia compared with most other high-income countries for which data are available, but lower than for most middle-income and low-income countries.

References

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2. Australian Tobacco Marketing Advisory Committee. Annual Report 1994: year ended 31 December 1994 regarding the operation of the Tobacco Marketing Act 1965. Canberra: Australian Tobacco Marketing Advisory Committee, 1995.

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11. Costello P and Fahey J. Budget 1998-99. Final budget outcome 1998-99. Table 8, Revenue replacement payments to the States. Canberra: Australian Government, 1999. Available from: http://www.finance.gov.au/publications/final-budget-outcomes/docs/Fbo9899.pdf

12. Costello P. Budget 1999-2000. Final budget outcome. Part IV: Federal financial relations. Table 28, Revenue replacement payments to the States and Territories. Canberra: Australian Government, 2000. Available from: http://www.budget.gov.au/1999-00/finaloutcome/html/Part4.html

13. Costello P. Budget 2000-01. Final budget outcome. Part IV: Federal financial relations. Table 28, Revenue replacement payments to the states and territories. Canberra: Australian Government, 2001. Available from: http://www.budget.gov.au/2000-01/finaloutcome/download/05Part4.pdf

14. Australian Taxation Office. Taxation Statistics 2008-09: a summary of income tax returns for the 2008-09 income year and other reported tax information for the 2009-10 financial year. Canberra: ATO, 2011 Last modified May 2011 [viewed May 2011] . Available from: http://www.ato.gov.au/content/00268761.htm

15. Swan W. Budget 2011-12. Final budget outcome. Part 1: Australian government budget outcome. Canberra: Australian Government, 2012. Available from: http://budget.gov.au/2011-12/content/fbo/html/index.html/part_7.html

16. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Customs quantities and value for tobacco products for 1993-94 to 2001-02, Unpublished data. Canberra: ABS. Electronic files provided annually to 1994 to 2003.

17. Australian Bureau of Statistics. International trade, customised report. Australian clearance data on tobacco products by quantity, by customs value, 2002-03 to 2003-04. Canberra: ABS, 2005.

18. Australian Bureau of Statistics. International trade, customised report. Australian clearance data on tobacco products by quantity, by customs value, 2004-05 to 2005-06. Canberra: ABS, 2007.

19. Australian Bureau of Statistics. International trade, customised report. Australian clearance data on tobacco products by quantity, by customs value, 2006-07 to 2010-11. Canberra: ABS, 2011.

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25. European Commission. European Commission taxation and customs union: tobacco products legislation. Brussels: EC, 2008. Updated 8 May 2012 [viewed 9 May 2012] . Available from: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/excise_duties/tobacco_products/legislation/index_en.htm

i Plus a small amount of residual revenue that was received after the end of the 1999–2000 financial year

ii Revenue from customs duty is not included in this table.

iii In 2005–06 the shares were as follows: New South Wales 27.9%, Victoria 21.1%, Queensland 20.7%, Western Australia 10.2%, South Australia 9.3%, Tasmania 4.0%, Australian Capital Territory 1.9% and Northern Territory 4.9%.

iv Large price increases resulting from increases in state fees were accompanied by significant declines in consumption over the 1980s. The effects of reduced consumption were offset for state and territory governments by the increase in state fees, but, because levels of excise and custom duty were subject only to indexation, federal revenue did not increase in real terms.

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