Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

Determinations/Other as made
This Determination sets out acceptable methods of determining the alcoholic strength of spirits.
Administered by: Treasury
Registered 23 Jan 2007
Gazetted 18 Mar 2003
Date of repeal 01 Apr 2017
Repealed by Sunsetting

Excise Act (Alcoholic strength of spirits) Determination 2003


I, MARGOT RUSHTON, Assistant Commissioner Excise in the Australian Taxation Office and delegate of the Commissioner of Taxation, make this Determination under section 77FB of the Excise Act 1901.



Dated   18        of March 2003



Original Signed by


Delegate of the Commissioner of Taxation




1          Name of Determination

This Determination may be cited as the Excise Act (Alcoholic strength of spirits) Determination 2003.


2          Commencement

This Determination commences on and from the date of publication of the Determination in the Gazette.


3          Definitions

In this Determination:

·        CEO means the Commissioner of Taxation;

·        spirits means beverages described in item 2 but excluding subitem 2(G) of the Schedule to the Excise Tariff Act 1921;

·        strength means the percentage by volume of alcohol at 20 degrees Celsius.


4          Application of Determination

This Determination applies to spirits entered for home consumption on or after commencement of the Determination.


5          Measuring equipment

(a)  You must ascertain the alcoholic strength of spirits by one or more of the following processes:

(i)   by the use of hydrometry;

(ii)  by the use of pycnometry;

(iii) by the use of gas chromatography;

(iv) by the use of near infra red spectrometry; or

(v)  by distillation followed by the gravimetric measurement of the distillate or by measurement in a density meter.


(b)  You must calibrate the accuracy of the measuring instruments (eg, volumetric glassware, hydrometer, pycnometer, thermometer), at intervals of one year or less, against standard instruments that have been certified by an independent authority approved by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA). The standard instruments must be calibrated by an independent NATA approved authority at intervals of five years or less.


6          Sampling and analysis

(a)        You must ascertain the alcoholic strength of the spirits by analysing sufficient samples to ensure the strength measured in accordance with paragraph 6(b) accurately reflects the true strength of the beverage.

(b)        You must analyse the samples with the approved calibrated equipment. The alcoholic strength of the beverage for duty purposes is taken to be the average of the strength of all the readings. The alcoholic strength calculated is to be expressed as the volume that would be the volume of that alcohol if the alcohol were measured at a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. Calculation by reference to the specific gravity of alcohol shall be made on the basis that, at a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius and in a vacuum, the specific gravity of alcohol in relation to water is 0.79067.


7          Permitted variations

For the purposes of working out the excise duty payable:

(a)        If the actual strength of the beverage does not exceed the labelled strength by more than 0.2%, the strength is taken to be the labelled strength.

(b)        If the strength of the beverage exceeds the labelled strength by more than 0.2%, the strength is the actual strength.