VAT, Customs & Excises

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A summary of how to be in compliance for alcohol excise duties (e-commerce & distance sales)

Are you selling Alcoholic beverages (Wine, Beer, Spirits…) to particulars (B2C) in the EU? If so you are subject to excise duties & VAT in the EU and this from the 1st euro.

What are your obligations? 

  • No threshold VAT is applied so you will always need to declare VAT in the target country.
  • Excise duties are due locally from the 1st euro.
  • In this case it’s mandatory to use a local tax representative who will help you settle all the administrative procedure to be in compliance in the target country and then avoid infringements

Legislation for calculation of excise duties:

Excise duties on alcohol are regulated through two main pieces of EU legislation.

Furthermore, the Directive 92/83/EEC on excise on duties sets out:

  • the structures of excise duties on alcohol and alcoholic beverages
  • the categories of alcohol and alcoholic beverages subject to excise duty
  • the basis on which the excise duty is calculated

Thus, Directive 92/84/EEC sets out minimum rates that must be applied to each category of alcoholic beverage. EU legislation only sets harmonized minimum rates.

Finally, this means that EU countries are free to apply excise duty rates above these minima, according to their own national needs.

Legal framework for excise duties payment

Two Directives are actually in force:

  • Horizontal Directive’ Council Directive 2008/118/EC about the general provisions applicable to harmonized excise goods was updated by directive 2020/262/EC. It leaves member states free to establish non-harmonized consumption taxes on other goods. Among other things, the ‘Horizontal Directive ’regulates how and where excise duties are paid and collected.
  • A ‘Structure Directive’ Council Directive 92/83/EEC on the harmonization of the structures of excise duties on alcohol and alcoholic beverages.

Study Case of how excise duties are submitted in France:

If you are a Spanish or an Italian company which ship alcoholic beverages to France, you must submit your excise declarations to French customs before 10th of each month. You can appoint Eurotax as a fiscal representative which will help you to be in compliance for indirect taxes related to alcohol in France. This procedure might be different for each of the European country but still mandatory in each of the Member States of the EU. Eurotax accompanies you everywhere in Europe for your fiscal & customs formalities you might have. 

Discover our Excises alcohol service which includes the payment of excise duties in country of destination, an analysis of your flows and assistance plus tax and VAT Representation. 

Eurotax remain at your disposal for any further information, you can contact us here

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