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EU directive laying down the general arrangements for excise duty

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Directive 2008/118 laying down the general arrangements for excise duty has been recast and is being replaced by Directive 2020/262. The general rules regarding the procedure for excise duties on energy products and electricity; alcohol and alcohol beverages; and manufactured tobacco, are mostly remaining unchanged in the recast directive. Further, the recast directive contains measures to simplify the processes covering export and import interaction of excise products, business-to-business interaction, and certain exceptional situations.


The recast directive sets out general rules that apply when goods are under a duty suspension arrangement, i.e., a tax arrangement applied to the production, processing, holding, storage and movement of excise goods whereby excise duty is suspended. Excise goods which are moved during duty suspension shall be handled in the computerised system Excise Movement Control System (EMCS). Excise goods are subject to duty when production, extraction or importation occur in the EU. Excise duty becomes chargeable at the time when, and in the Member State where, excise goods are released for consumption. The recast directive further lays down general rules that apply when excise goods, after being released for consumption in one Member State, are moved to another Member State for commercial purposes. In such cases, excise goods may only be moved from a certified consignor to a certified consignee, registered with the competent authorities of the Member State of dispatch/destination in order to dispatch respective receive excise goods.


Through the recast directive, the procedure of such movements will be computerised through an extension of the EMCS which to a large extent corresponds to the currently existing procedure on duty suspension arrangement.