Commercial broadcasting tax arrangements | ACMA

Commercial broadcasting tax arrangements

The commercial broadcasting transmitter licence tax arrangements—which commenced on 1 July 2017—are for taxes on transmitter licences associated with a commercial broadcasting licence.

The existing apparatus licence taxation and charging arrangements will continue for national and community broadcasters and all other apparatus licences.

Commercial broadcasting transmitter licence fee schedule

The Commercial broadcasting transmitter licence fee schedule—July 2019 (Word, 1.2 MB) sets out current taxes and how these have been calculated.

How taxes are assessed

The commercial broadcasting transmitter licence taxes are charged on an annual basis. Taxes are assessed by the ACMA on each transmitter licence’s anniversary date, which is typically the same date as the original date of issue.

Assessments and invoices will be emailed to a licensee from spectrumpricing@acma.gov.au. If there is a change in the contact who deals with assessments, please email updated information to spectrumpricing@acma.gov.au.

Payment of licence taxes

Taxes are to be paid within 28 days after the ACMA gives the licensee a copy of the assessment of taxes. The ACMA expects licensees to make appropriate arrangements for timely payment by the due date of commercial broadcasting taxes. Appropriate arrangements include:

  • providing the ACMA with contact details so that the ACMA can give the assessment of taxes
  • having sufficient funds to make the payment of the taxes
  • ensuring invoices are included in a payment run by the payment due date.

The ACMA expects to make assessments of taxes on, or soon after, the anniversary date of the particular transmitter licence. The ACMA will provide prior notification to licensees of its intention to make an assessment.

To assist licensees to make those arrangements, the ACMA has developed the information about the calculation of commercial broadcasting taxes in the Commercial broadcasting transmitter licence fee schedule—July 2019, while updated contact details can be sent to spectrumpricing@acma.gov.au.

In addition, the ACMA will generally endeavour to provide a commercial broadcasting licensee with an estimate of commercial broadcasting tax at least one week before making an assessment. The ACMA will also contact the licensee when it is observed that there is an unpaid debt.

Late payment penalties

Under section 205AF of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA), late payment penalties of 20 per cent per annum apply. The penalties apply for each day that payment is late.

The ACMA may remit late payment penalties in part or in full. It is the ACMA’s general expectation that it will not remit late payment penalties unless the ACMA is satisfied that the delayed payment of the tax assessment was due to circumstances outside of the control of the licence holder.

It is expected that late payment penalties will be calculated after the ACMA receives payment of the commercial broadcast tax. Licensees will be provided with an opportunity to provide reasons to inform the ACMA’s consideration of the circumstances that led to the remittance of late payment penalties. However, the ACMA encourages licensees to contact the ACMA as soon as they become aware that payments of the commercial broadcasting taxes will not be made by the due date.

Where a licensee does not pay its assessed commercial broadcasting tax, under section 205AD of the BSA the unpaid amount is a debt due to the ACMA on behalf of the Commonwealth. Similarly, under subsection 205AF(5) of the BSA, a late payment penalty is also a debt due to the ACMA on behalf of the Commonwealth. These debts may be recovered by the ACMA, on behalf of the Commonwealth, in:

  1. the Federal Court; or
  2. the Federal Circuit Court; or
  3. a court of a State or Territory that has jurisdiction in relation to the matter.

Commercial broadcasting transmitter licence tax legislation

The following Acts of Parliament and determinations impact on how the ACMA charges for use of radiofrequency spectrum:

Contact information

For queries about the commercial broadcasting taxes, email the Economics Advisory Section: spectrumpricing@acma.gov.au.

For all other queries, email the ACMA Customer Service Centre: info@acma.gov.au.

Last updated: 02 July 2019