Wholesale Levy Assurance Options Paper - CONSULTATION CLOSED
Gas Industry Co is funded by wholesale and retail levies:
- the wholesale levy is a charge per GJ of gas purchased from a gas producer; and
- the retail levy is a charge per ICP (customer connection).
The data for wholesale levies is provided by the parties who purchase gas from producers, while the data for retail levies is taken from the gas registry which records the responsible retailer for each active ICP.
In general, the system for collection of the wholesale levy has worked well. Annual consultation on the work programme and the level of funding has received strong support from stakeholders, as evidenced by their submissions. However, Gas Industry Co is aware of a number of instances where industry participants have made voluntary payments following identification of errors in past returns. Although this suggests that, on the whole, industry participants’ processes were subject to a degree of rigour, Gas Industry Co considers that reliance on industry participants’ internal processes is an inadequate check on wholesale levy payments. The lack of any transparency about gas sales by producers means that it is not possible to verify the accuracy of the returns and associated wholesale levy payments.
Given that there is inadequate means for Gas Industry Co to verify that each participant has met its obligations under the Levy Regulations, the potential for undetected underpayment is unfair to other industry participants who are required to bear the cost.
Gas Industry Co has identified a series of options that could be used to mitigate the risks associated with inaccurate levy returns and payments. These options range from introducing regular audits of levy payers through to using data that is sourced independently from levy payers as the basis of the levy invoices. The latter reflects the change that was made to the method of invoicing for retail levies in FY2010 when we began using data from the gas registry to identify each retailer’s ICP market share.
The options are set out in the consultation paper Options Paper—Wholesale Levy Assurance. That paper describes issues that have been identified in respect of inaccurate payment of the wholesale levy, some running over several years, and seeks submitter’s views on a range of options for providing a high level of assurance that wholesale levy payers are each paying their fair share of the wholesale levy.
Gas Industry Co will consider submissions on the Options Paper (and any other options that may emerge as a result of consultation) and determine a preferred option. The preferred option will then be developed further, with assistance from industry participants, to ensure that the design is consistent with existing industry arrangements. Provided that work is able to be completed within the expected timeframe, Gas Industry Co’s preference is for the new approach to be included in the next levy recommendation to the Minister early in calendar 2017 (for the FY2018 year).
We find that the Options Paper is straightforward and are not intending to hold a workshop. However, if you need any further clarification on the paper please email us.
Submissions closed 5.00pm, Tuesday 18 October 2016.
To read the Options Paper and view submissions click here.