Registered Trade Marks and the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) rebate
Attention all wine producers - does your trade mark meet the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) rebate requirements?
What is the WET rebate?
The WET rebate allows wine producers to claim a credit (producer rebate) of the WET amount they have paid on a dealing with wine, provided certain criteria are met. General information on the rebate from the ATO can be found here
In 2018, the eligibility requirements for the WET rebate were tightened. One significant change was to require that the wine must be branded with a trade mark owned by the producer, or an associated entity.
Eligible trade marks for the WET rebate include:
(i) a registered Australian trade mark; and
(ii) a pending Australian trade mark application.
Wine bearing a trade mark other than (i) and (ii) above can still meet the WET rebate requirements but only if it has been in use continuously prior to 1 July 2015.
In the event of an audit, the existence of trade marks (i) and (ii) above is easily demonstrated by reference to an official filing receipt and/or registration certificate issued by the Australian Trade Marks Office. However, to satisfy the continuous use requirement of an unregistered trade mark is much more onerous with a producer needing to provide certain evidence of use that clearly meets this requirement.
In short, more work is required to meet the requirements associated with an unregistered trade mark and the eligibility is less certain than if you have a pending or registered trade mark.
Trade Mark Registration
Trade Mark registration is the most effective way to protect your valuable brand assets and for those in the wine industry there is the added benefit of easing your compliance with the WET rebate requirements.
The cost to register a trade mark for 10 years can be as little as $1480 (ex GST). For more information on trade marks please get in touch or request a free trade mark search via our website.