Securing a Still

For distillers in Australia, ensuring that your still is secure and compliant with Australian Taxation Office (ATO) requirements is crucial. This not only involves adhering to excise regulations but also implementing appropriate security measures to safeguard your operations. As an accountant with expertise in compliance and regulatory matters, I assist distillery owners in understanding and fulfilling these requirements. Here’s an essential guide to keeping your still secure in compliance with ATO guidelines.

 1. Understanding ATO Regulations for Stills
- Excise Regulations: The ATO oversees excise regulations which include specific requirements for the operation and security of stills used in producing excisable goods like spirits.
- Licence Requirements: Operating a still for commercial purposes requires an Excise Manufacturer Licence, and compliance with ATO regulations is a key part of maintaining this licence.

 2. Implementing Required Security Measures
- Secure Premises: Ensure that your distillery, especially areas where the still and stored spirits are located, is secure. This includes measures like locked doors, controlled access, and possibly alarm systems.
- Surveillance Systems: Consider installing surveillance cameras around the still and storage areas to monitor activities and deter unauthorised access.

 3. Record-Keeping and Reporting
- Accurate Records: Maintain accurate records of all spirit production, storage, and movement as per ATO requirements. This includes detailed logs of quantities distilled, stored, and sold.
- Regular Reporting: Submit regular reports to the ATO detailing production volumes, stock levels, and other relevant information.

 4. Safety and Compliance Checks
- Safety Standards: Adhere to safety standards related to fire hazards and safe handling of spirits. Compliance with occupational health and safety regulations is imperative.
- Regular Audits: Conduct regular internal audits to ensure ongoing compliance with ATO regulations and safety standards.

 5. Training and Staff Compliance
- Staff Training: Ensure that all staff members are trained on the legal requirements for operating a still, including safety protocols and excise compliance.
- Staff Accountability: Implement measures to ensure staff accountability in maintaining security and compliance standards.

 6. Preparing for ATO Inspections
- Compliance Readiness: Be prepared for ATO inspections. Ensure that your facility, records, and security measures are always inspection-ready.
- Cooperation with Authorities: Cooperate fully with ATO officials during inspections or audits, providing access to records and facilities as required.

 7. Seeking Professional Assistance
- Consult with an Accountant: Work with an accountant familiar with ATO regulations for distilleries. They can assist in ensuring that your record-keeping and reporting are compliant.
- Legal Advice: Consider seeking legal advice for complex compliance matters or if facing challenges with ATO regulations.

 8. Staying Informed on Regulatory Changes
- Keep Updated: Stay informed about any changes to ATO regulations or excise laws that might affect your distillery operations.

Securing your still and ensuring compliance with ATO requirements is a critical aspect of running a distillery in Australia. It requires a thorough understanding of excise regulations, diligent record-keeping, robust security measures, staff training, and preparedness for inspections. As your accountant, I am here to provide guidance and support in navigating these regulatory requirements, helping you maintain a compliant and successful distillery operation.