Opinion No. 398
WHETHER PAYABLE ON PROPERTY OF COMMONWEALTH
EXCISE ACT 1901. s. 161
02 February 1911
The Secretary to the Treasury
A certain quantity of spirit for the official use of the Federal Analyst has been delivered free of Excise duty as being the property of the Commonwealth.
The Auditor-General thinks that the duty should be provided for.
The Secretary to the Treasury has referred the matter to me for advice.
According to the rules of construction relating to the subject, the Crown receives and does not pay duties and taxes. Therefore, in the absence of any express provision in the Excise Acts to the contrary, Excise duties are not payable on spirits the property of the Commonwealth.
Further, the Excise Acts provide that duties of Excise are Crown debts and the Commonwealth could not contract a debt to itself.
I am of opinion, therefore, that Excise duty is not payable in respect of the spirits in question.
[Vol. 8, p. 221]