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Spectrum licence taxes

The ACMA collects taxes from relevant spectrum licences each year. This covers the costs of spectrum management and the Electromagnetic Energy Program (EME Program).


In September 2020, the ACMA introduced the EME component of the SLT to comply with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (Modifications to Apparatus and Spectrum Licences Taxes) Direction 2020

How we calculate spectrum licence tax is outlined in the Radiocommunications (Spectrum Licence Tax) Determination 2021 (SLT Determination). It is summarised below.

Main component

All spectrum licences incur the 'main component' of the SLT. Spectrum licences contribute to the costs of spectrum management in a similar way to apparatus licences.

The main component is calculated with a formula that takes into account the bandwidth (in MHz) and the population covered by each licence. The formula is set out in Part 2 of the SLT Determination.

EME component

The EME component recovers the cost of the EME Program. The program provides information and research into the impacts of EME on human health. For 2023–24, the EME component will collect no more than $2,014,000. 

You can find more information about how the 2023–24 total EME component is calculated in our consultation paper.

All designated spectrum licences (as defined by the SLT Determination), must pay the EME component of the SLT. Exceptions include:  

  • licences used for rail safety or television outside broadcast services
  • those held by Commonwealth departments and agencies.

This means taxes for the following spectrum licences do not include the EME component:

  • licences in the 1800 MHz band with a condition they are only used for rail safety, rail operations or rail control
  • those in the mid-band gap of the 2.5 GHz band (2570 to 2620 MHz frequency range)
  • those held by Defence in the 20 GHz and 30 GHz bands.

The EME component is calculated using the following formula:

(main SLT for a designated spectrum licence) / (total of main SLT for all designated spectrum licences) × total EME component

Table 1 shows a simplified example of the proposed calculation. For example, Licence 1 is a designated spectrum licence, and the main SLT for Licence 1 is $120,000. The total of main components of SLT for all designated spectrum licences is $370,000.

For Licence 1, the percentage of the main SLT relative to the total is approximately 32.4%. For 2023–24, the total EME component is $2,014,000. Therefore, the EME component of the SLT for Licence 1 is $653,189. The total SLT relating to Licence 1 will be $773,189.

Table 1: Simplified example calculation for the EME component of SLT for 2020–21

Spectrum Licences Main SLT* EME component as % of total main SLT** EME component of SLT ($)*** Total SLT payable ($)
Designated Spectrum Licence 1 $120,000 32.4 $653,189 $773,189
Designated Spectrum Licence 2 $200,000 54.1 $1,088,648 $1,288,648
Designated Spectrum Licence 3 $50,000 13.5 $272,162 $322,162
Total of the Main SLT payable $370,000      
Spectrum Licence 4 $49,000 Not applicable Not applicable $49,000
Total $419,000   $2,013,999 $2,432,999

* The main SLT is calculated by the current methodology for determining SLT in the existing SLT Determination.

** For 2023–24, the EME component of SLT is based on the target total EME component of $2,014,000 apportioned by the percentages. The percentages are rounded to one decimal place for ease of viewing in the table, but the SLT Determination does not require rounding of the percentages. Licences such as Spectrum Licence 4 that are not designated spectrum licences are excluded from the EME component calculation.

*** The EME component for each licence will be rounded down to the nearest dollar to ensure that the ACMA does not collect in excess of the total EME component.

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