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BOOZE BUST: Tax man raids illegal alcohol lab

Image: Getty

A South Australian address suspected of illegally making alcohol was raided by police and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) last week.

A tip-off led to the discovery of equipment and ingredients used in making illicit spirits at the Riverglades premises, along with 21 bottles of allegedly illegal alcohol.

While beer and wine can be made at home legally, spirits cannot be produced without a licence – even if it’s made for personal consumption.

“Illegally distilled spirits can pose a health risk and even be fatal in some cases. This is due to the volatility of the distillation process and the possible toxicity of improperly produced alcohol,” said ATO assistant commissioner Peter Vujanic.

The tax office has an interest in busting those that make illegal spirits, as a tax named excise duty is usually payable on the manufacture of such drinks.

“Severe penalties apply for manufacturing spirits without an excise manufacturer licence,” says the ATO website.

“To be granted an excise manufacturer licence we will consider your circumstances, such as the security of your premises and that you will pay the correct amount of excise duty when required.”

Vujanic said the latest raid showed how the public has “an important role to play” in catching those involved in the illegal alcohol industry.

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