Service & Technology  #MoveForward

Excise rates on rum: France vs French Overseas Territories

Rum, an emblematic drink of the French West Indies, is subject to a special tax regime in France. Indeed, there is a significant gap between the excise rate applied in mainland France and that of the French Overseas Territories.

Definition of rum and traditional overseas rum:

Regulation (EU) 2019/787 relating to spirit drinks specifies the characteristics of rum:

  • Production exclusively by the distillation of the product obtained by the alcoholic fermentation of molasses or syrups produced during the manufacture of cane sugar or the alcoholic fermentation of the sugar cane juice itself.
  • Distillation at less than 96% vol., preserving the specific organoleptic characteristics of the rum.
  • Minimum alcoholic strength by volume of 37.5%.
  • No addition of alcohol, diluted or not, no flavoring.
  • Possibility of adding caramel only for color, and sweetening limited to 20 grams per liter.
  • Rum can claim the quality of “traditional” subject to compliance with additional criteria, such as distillation at less than 90% vol. after fermentation of products exclusively originating from the place of production.

Quota regimes for traditional overseas rum

Traditional rum produced in the territories of Martinique, Guadeloupe, Reunion and Guyana benefits from two specific systems:

  1. The economic contingent, which regulates exports of traditional rum from overseas territories to mainland France.
  2. The tax contingent, which concerns the benefit of a particular excise rate when traditional overseas rum is released for consumption on metropolitan territory.

The economic contingent:

This system annually regulates exports of traditional overseas rum to mainland France to ensure fair access for domestic producers to the mainland market. It is defined by article 362 of the general tax code.

The tax contingent:

This state aid scheme authorizes France to apply a special excise rate to traditional rum from overseas departments released for consumption in mainland France, within the limit of an annual volume of pure alcohol of 153,000 hectoliters. Beyond this volume, the normal excise rate applies.

For the year 2024, the specific excise rate is set at €933.78/HLAP according to article L.313-25 of the tax code on goods and services.

The alignment of overseas rum taxation with that of mainland France since 2020

This measure aims to gradually increase the Social Security contribution on rums produced and consumed in the overseas departments over a period of six years to finally reach the metropolitan rate.

Initially, fiscal measures were adopted to support the cane-sugar-rum sector, because the local production of rum in the overseas departments and territories (DROM-COM) faces specific economic constraints, such as production costs. To overcome these constraints, the European Union has authorized France to apply a reduced tax rate on traditional rum produced in overseas territories.

However, since 2020, the price of rum has gradually increased each year until 2026 to align with metropolitan taxation. This decision is motivated in part by public health concerns, particularly regarding alcohol consumption among vulnerable populations overseas.

Excise rates on rum in France and the French Overseas Territories:

PRODUCTSExcise ratesSocial Security Contribution

Eurotax, as your tax representative, helps you with your rum excise declarations in France and other EU countries. Visit our dedicated pages for B2C and B2B excise duties.

Do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

Share this article...