Version: 1.0.20.21 (2020-10-12 14:45)

Excise duties

Does your company sell goods or services? This section helps you understand some of the taxes that may be applied in the EU.

Taxable event

The taxable products are subject to excise duty upon their production (wherever in the EU) or upon importation (from non-EU countries).

However, the excise duty is only payable upon release for consumption. If the product is imported into a EU country but transported to and supplied to another EU country, excise duties are due in the EU country where the products will eventually be consumed or used.

Excises duties paid on alcoholic beverages can be claimed back, subject to certain conditions and in specific cases, such as when goods are finally exported to non-EU countries.

Taxable products and rates

Alcohol and alcoholic beverages

Beer

Standard rate

Reduced rates

The excise duty may be based on the quantity and alcoholic strength of the beer, measured either on hL/degree Plato, or on hL/alcohol by volume:

  • €0.748 per hL / degree Plato of finished product, or
  • €1.87 per hL / degree of alcohol of finished product.

EU countries may apply reduced rates to beer brewed by independent small breweries whose annual production does not exceed 200,000 hL. The reduced rates shall not be set more than 50% below the standard national rate of excise duty. EU countries may also apply reduced rates for beer with an actual alcoholic strength by volume not exceeding 2.8% volume. The number of degrees Plato measures the percentage in weight of the original extract per 100 grams of beer, is calculated from the actual extract and the alcohol contained in the finished product (for tax purposes one degree Plato is legally equivalent to 0.4% alcohol)

Wine
Standard rate Reduced rates

€0.00 / hL of product, meaning that EU countries may apply a zero rate, or higher, on wine.

Where EU countries have not set a zero standard rate, they may apply reduced rates of excise duty to any type of still and sparkling wine of an actual alcoholic strength by volume not exceeding 8.5% volume.

Fermented beverages other than wine and beer
Standard rate Reduced rates

€0.00 / hL of product, meaning that EU countries may apply a zero rate, or higher.

Where EU countries have not set a zero standard rate, they may apply reduced rates of excise duty to any type of other still and sparkling fermented beverages of an actual alcoholic strength by volume not exceeding 8.5% volume

Intermediate products
Standard rate Reduced rates

€45 / hL of product.

EU countries may apply a single reduced rate of duty to intermediate products with an actual alcoholic strength by volume not exceeding 15% volume The reduced rate shall not be set more than 40% below the standard national rate of excise duty, and may not be less than the standard national rate applied to wine and other fermented beverages.

Ethyl alcohol
Standard rate Reduced rates

€550 / hL of pure alcohol.

EU countries may apply reduced rates of excise duty to ethyl alcohol produced by small distilleries whose annual production of pure alcohol does not exceed 10 hL. The reduced rates shall not be set more than 50% below the standard national rate of excise duty.

Manufactured tobacco

Cigarettes

Cigarettes are subject to an ad valorem (proportional to its value) excise duty calculated on the maximum retail selling price (including customs duties). They are also subject to a specific excise duty calculated per unit of the product.

Each EU country applies an overall minimum excise duty (specific duty plus ad valorem duty excluding VAT), the incidence of which is set at 60% of the weighted average retail selling price of cigarettes released for consumption. It can not be less than €90 per 1,000 cigarettes, irrespective of the weighted average retail selling price.

EU countries which charge an overall minimum excise duty of at least €115 per 1,000 cigarettes (of the weighted average retail selling price) do not need to comply with the 60% minimum incidence requirement.

Cigars and cigarillos

Cigars and cigarillos are subject to an excise of 5% of the retail selling price inclusive of all taxes, or €12 per 1,000 items or per kilogram.

Fine cut tobacco (intended for the rolling of cigarettes)

The overall excise duty shall be at least equal to 48% of the weighted average retail selling price of fine-cut smoking tobacco intended for the rolling of cigarettes released for consumption, or €60 per kilogram.

Other smoking tobaccos

The overall excise duty shall be at least equal to 20% of the retail selling price inclusive of all taxes, or €22 per kilogram.

Mineral oils

Petrol

Leaded Petrol: €421 per 1,000 litres.

Unleaded Petrol: €359 per 1,000 litres.

Gas oil

Used as propellant: €330 per 1,000 litres.

Used for some industrial and commercial purposes: €21 per 1,000 litres.

Used for heating purposes (both business and non-business use): €21 per 1,000 litres.

Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Methane

Used as propellant: €125 per 1,000 kg.

Used for some industrial and commercial purposes: €41 per 1,000 kg.

Used for heating purposes (both business and non-business use): €0 per 1,000 L.

Heavy fuel oil

Used for heating purposes and both business and non-business use: €15 per 1,000 kg.

Kerosene

Used as propellant: €330 per 1,000 litres.

Used for some industrial and commercial purposes: €21 per 1,000 litres.

Used for heating purposes (both business and non-business use): €0 per 1000 litres.

Energy products and electricity
Natural gas

Used as propellant: €2.60 per GJ gross calorific value.

Used for some industrial and commercial purposes: €0.30 per GJ

Used for heating purposes

  • Business use: €0.15 per GJ
  • Non-business use: €0.30 per GJ
Coal and coke

Business use: €0.15 per GJ gross calorific value.

Non-business use: €0.30 per GJ

Electricity

Business use: €0.50 per MWh.

Non-business use: €1 per MWh.

EU countries can only set tax rates that are not be less than the minimum levels of taxation prescribed by the EU Directives.

For energy products and electricity, the Council Directive 2003/96/EC establishes minimum levels of taxation. However, for some EU countries, it allows transitional periods during which they are required to progressively reduce their gap. The minimum levels of taxation are described in the table above.

Suspensive arrangements

As a consequence of the free movement of goods within the European single market, EU countries need a control mechanism to ensure that movable goods are charged for taxes and duties at final destination.

Those goods are usually placed under a suspensive arrangement, which indicates that goods can be dispatched from one EU country to another, before taxes have been levied on them, provided duties are eventually paid at destination.

Traders who transport products under suspensive arrangements must inform the tax authorities in EU countries about the final destination of their supplies, using an administrative or commercial accompanying document:

  • the information appearing on the copies of the accompanying document can also be transmitted by computerised means.
  • internal transit documents and TIR or ATA Convention documents can also be used as the accompanying document for excise-duty purposes.
  • a guarantee must be lodged to cover the risks inherent in the movement of goods.
  • in case of frequent and regular movements of products subject to excise duty under suspensive arrangements, EU countries may permit a reduction of discharge procedures.

Excise duties in EU countries and in the United Kingdom

Excise duties have been harmonised at the EU level by Council Directive 2008/118/EC (OJ L-9 14/01/2009) and by various directives covering excises on specific products. Nonetheless, some country-specific rules may still apply.

For country-specific information, access the DG Taxation and Customs Union database.

The EU Directives on excise duties are not applied in the following territories

  • Germany: the island of Helgoland and the territory of Büsingen
  • Italy: Livigno, Campione d'Italia and the Italian waters of Lake Lugano
  • Spain: Ceuta and Melilla
  • Greece: Mount Athos
  • Austria: Jungholz and Mittelberg
  • Denmark: Greenland and the Faroe Islands
  • Finland: the Åland islands

A special regime for excise duties is applicable in the following territories

  • Spain: The Canary Islands
  • France: Corsica and the overseas departments
  • Portugal: Azores and Madeira

 

 

Austria

 

Belgium

 

Bulgaria

 

Croatia

 

Cyprus

 

Czech Republic

 

Denmark

 

Estonia

 

Finland

 

France

 

Germany

 

Greece

 

Hungary

 

Ireland

 

Italy

 

Latvia

 

Lithuania

 

Luxembourg

 

Malta

 

Netherlands

 

Poland

 

Romania

 

Slovak Republic

 

Slovenia

 

Spain

 

Sweden

 

United Kingdom *

 

(*) The United Kingdom withdrew from the European Union and is a third country as of 1 February 2020. During the transition period, which ends on 31 December 2020, Union law, with a few limited exceptions, continues to be applicable to and in the United Kingdom.

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