Australia – Tax to be levied for RPA and Model Aircraft

caution drone rules apply

Drone taxes are coming! In late August 2020, the Parliament proposed 2 draft laws (Bills) concerning the levy for the registration of drones in Australia. The levy will initially be nil for the current financial year and afterwards could be up to $300. The levy will commence on 30 September 2020 for RPA and not until 2022 for Model Aircraft.

The Senate is seeking consultation on this and submissions are due by 30 September 2020. At the date of this article, only 5 submissions have been made so YOU are the difference. Link to the Senate page is available here.

Quick background

The Civil Aviation Safety Amendment (Remotely Piloted Aircraft and Model Aircraft—Registration and Accreditation) Regulations 2019 made on 25 July 2019 provide for the registration of certain RPA and Model Aircraft; and the accreditation of their operators – through online training and examination. The registration scheme commences for RPA on 30 September 2020, and registration requirements for Model Aircraft commence in 2022.

The pending tax laws…

Parliament is proposing 2 new laws:

ONE: The Civil Aviation (Unmanned Aircraft Levy) Act 2020 which formally imposes the levy. This Bad Boy also paves that way for the Levy Regulations which will prescribe the precise levy amount. Yes, another layer of law.

TWO: The Civil Aviation Amendment (Unmanned Aircraft Levy Collection and Payment) Act 2020 which establishes the arrangements for CASA to collect the levy. That is, the Commonwealth is to pay CASA amounts equal to the amounts of levy received by CASA on behalf of the Commonwealth. Confusing? Yes, but them’s the breaks.

So, why 2 laws?

Besides for gits and shiggles, the first law sets up the actual levy whereas the second law provides for the Commonwealth to pay to CASA the levy amounts collected by CASA on behalf of the Commonwealth. The second law is needed because CASA does not have the ability to impose a levy to recover the costs of the registration system. As a result, the Commonwealth must pay to CASA amounts equal to amounts of unmanned aircraft levy received by CASA on behalf of the Commonwealth. Confusing, right?

When are drone operators being whacked?

This levy laws are likely to come into place on 30 September 2020 for RPA and not until 2022 for Model Aircraft.

The levy will apply either:

[a] Upon registration of your drone; or

[b] For a drone to be flown in Australia but registered in another country, upon applying to CASA for registration of such a drone.

Tell ‘em the price Son!…

The amount of the levy must not be more than $300 and may be a nil amount.

It was also said in Parliament that the levy will be set at no cost for the current financial year “and any increase to the cost will be based on evidence collected from the registration scheme, and considered in the context of future funding arrangements for CASA in 2021-22 and the government’s broader approach to regulation and service delivery for the RPA sector.”

Bit of a round ’em up and pound ’em down!

Why are drone pilots being whacked?

The Explanatory Memorandum to the Bills states thats these laws are proposed so as to “ensure that commercial RPA system users contribute to the cost of the functions they receive.”

Conclusion

While the taxes are comin’ round the mountain when she comes at break-neck speed, the Senate is seeking consultation on this and submissions are due by 30 September 2020. At the date of this article, only 5 submissions have been made so YOU are the difference. Link to the Senate page is available here.

Fly Free!

The Drone Lawyer

25 September 2020

Boring lawyer disclaimer: while this is not legal advice, if you would like legal advice please be in touch. Any legal advice is provided under Lawbase Pty Ltd.

Read the original article