Liquor Returns lodgement guide

Guidance for licensees completing annual liquor returns.

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The purpose of this lodgement guide is to provide guidance for licensees completing annual liquor returns.

In accordance with section 146 (1) and (2) of the Liquor Control Act 1988 (the Act), the Director of Liquor Licensing requires that an annual liquor sales return be completed by certain licensees and submitted to the department on or before 31 July.

Content and lodgement

The liquor return requires you to submit the total sales (litres and $) for the financial year for each sale that you have made to a WA liquor merchant (holders of their own liquor licences).

The liquor return is required to be lodged electronically via the department’s portal.

Please sign in to the online account held in the name of the licensee or create a new account if the licensee doesn’t already have one. Note: this account is not the one used to renew an approved managers card, unless the liquor licence is held as an individual.

If you have created a new account please record your username and password for subsequent log in.

On the online portal data can be uploaded manually or via a spreadsheet saved in the CSV (comma separated value) format.  Manual entered returns are only recommended when entering returns consisting of a few lines of date.  Returns over 20 lines of data should be completed via uploading a CSV file.


Low volume liquor (low alcohol content)
As defined under the Act, the concentration of ethanol shall not exceed 3.5%
High volume liquor
All liquor not classed as low volume
Liquor merchant
Means a person who holds a permanent liquor licence under the Act to sell liquor
Litres (must be reported as a whole number)
Is the total amount you received for the sale of that liquor — format as a number not as currency.


It is an offence to fail to lodge this return by 31 July (penalty $10,000) or to include in the return information that is false or misleading (penalty $10,000).

Liquor return templates

Return lodgement through an account

The licensee's account will be used to submit your return this year and in subsequent years.  It can be used during the course of the reporting period to intermittently enter sales and save your progress or alternatively you can lodge the return in one transaction. 

If you already have an account with the department sign in with your existing username and password and skip step 1.

1.  Creating an account

First you must create an account. This account will be used to submit your applications, returns and change your address details.

  • Visit the online portal (opens a new window)
  • Select Create Account.
  • Add all required fields and click Register.
    • The username must be in lowercase letters and cannot contain spaces or symbols such as @, !, &.
    • The password must be at least 8 characters long and contain at least 1 number, 1 uppercase and 1 lowercase letters.
  • An email will be sent to the email entered when completing the required fields.
    • Go to your email account and locate the registration email and click on the registration link to complete your account creation.
    • If copying the registration link please ensure you copy and paste the entire link into your internet browser.
  • To complete the account verification, log into your account when prompted by entering your username and password.
  • Click Register to finalise and activate your account.

Once your details have been entered and registered, you will not be required to register your details again. You can amend your details at anytime by logging into your account.

If you experience any issues with the account creation process please contact our department on 61 8 6551 4999.

Completing an annual liquor return

  1. Login to Your Licence/Business’s Online Account on our website portal:
  2. Click New Lodgement.
  3. Select Liquor and Annual Liquor Return then click Submit.
  4. Once you hit submit, it will ask if you wish to review your contact details. If you do not want to, please ensure you select NO to progress.
  5. Complete all mandatory boxes and the details entered will be lodged after submitting.
  6. Make sure you click on submit after uploading otherwise the return will not be submitted.
  7. If you need to leave this page before completion, save and take note of the reference number that will be displayed.

Troubleshooting: common causes of upload errors

  • Make sure you are logged into your licences/businesses online account — not your own account — where your approved managers licence is visible.
  • Licence numbers have not been entered correctly — licence numbers can be verified online.
  • The final file has not been converted to a CSV text file — CSV is an acronym for Comma Separated Values.
  • In our templates the merchant licence number column (column 2) must be in text format. Suggestion: start work in an Excel File (enter all your sales data), save it, then save the final file from Excel into a CSV file.
  • The actual data values may have spaces before and after, providing the actual data values do not exceed the maximum lengths specified in the technical specification.
  • Numeric values should not contain commas, $ symbols or other punctuation. Round your figures (using formatting option is not sufficient as rounding will not transfer to the CSV file).
  • The first row, Header ‘H’, is there to identify the licence. The licence data is being lodged against your licence number and for which financial year (e.g. 2018, 2019 and 2020) it was lodged.
  • Then the body rows ‘D’ contains the relevant sales figures per liquor merchant(s) (your licensed WA buyers).
  • The last row ‘F’, should contain the totals of the data above, to verify the data you entered.
  • You have included extra columns — our website will reject the file if you add additional columns (common error is adding premises names).
  • Licence numbers are appearing as scientific numbers (6.16E+11)! Refer to the fix in the technical standard to correct this issue. 
  • Browser/computer incompatibility — we recommend using a Windows computer with either Chrome or Internet Explorer 11 as your browser (Microsoft Edge and Safari result in upload errors).
  • While a Mac computer can be used to prepare the file, errors will occur with uploading the return using a Mac. We recommend using Text Wrangler or Text Edit in plain text format if editing your CSV file on your Mac.


For assistance with log in details (forgotten username or password) please contact the department on 61 8 6551 9999 or  

For assistance with your electronic return content please contact the department on 61 8 6551 4980 or

If you need assistance and are advised to send us your file. Please send it as an Excel spreadsheet. We will not be able to provide assistance if it arrives in any other format.


This information is designed to provide authoritative information regarding the subject matter covered, and with the understanding that the Director is not passing legal opinion or interpretation or other professional advice. The information is provided on the understanding that all persons undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of its contents.

Page reviewed 30 July 2019