Excise duty: Council agrees on a modernised framework for excise goods

The EU is modernising its rules on taxation of the sale or use of products such as tobacco, energy or alcohol.

The Council reached a provisional agreement on measures to improve the business environment for trade in goods subject to excise duties, by further improving conditions for fair competition and reducing the administrative burden for companies.

Today we agreed an important improvement of the regime for excise duties applicable in Europe. Modernising the existing framework is about cutting red tape and reducing costs for small producers, while promoting fair competition in the single market.

Mika Lintilä, Finnish minister for finance

The Council agreed on the following proposals:

  • the directive on general arrangements for excise duty
  • the regulation on administrative cooperation on the content of electronic registers

Excise duties are indirect taxes on the sale or use of specific types of products subject to such duties. The revenue from these taxes goes entirely to the country to which they are paid. Since 1992, EU countries have had in place common rules to make sure that excise duties are applied in the same way and to the same products everywhere in the EU.

General arrangements for excise duty and administrative cooperation on the content of electronic registers

The aim of these proposals is to align the EU excise and customs procedures, so as to improve the freedom of movement for excise goods released for consumption in the single market while ensuring that the correct tax is collected by the member states. It also aims  to reduce the administrative and legal burdens for small companies. The proposals contain a number of measures to streamline and simplify the processes covering export and import interaction and intra-EU movements of excise products.

The directive on general arrangements for excise duty sets out, inter alia, guidance on the  amounts of excise duty goods that private individuals are allowed to acquire for their own use and transport from one member state to another without being taxed.