RSS
Alphabetical index
This page is available in 4 languages

We are migrating the content of this website during the first semester of 2014 into the new EUR-Lex web-portal. We apologise if some content is out of date before the migration. We will publish all updates and corrections in the new version of the portal.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.


Alcohol and alcoholic beverages: approximation of excise rates

The European Union sets the minimum rates of excise duty to be applied to alcohol and alcoholic beverages from 1 January 1993.

ACT

Council Directive 92/84/EEC of 19 October 1992 on approximation of the rates of excise duty on alcohol and alcoholic beverages.

SUMMARY

The shift to flexibility in the excise duty rates levied on alcohol and alcoholic beverages, intermediate products, wine and beer involves setting the following minimum rates:

  • ECU 0.748 per hectolitre/degree Plato or ECU 1.87 per hectolitre/degree of alcohol for beer;
  • ECU 0 per hectolitre for wine;
  • ECU 45 per hectolitre for intermediate products;
  • ECU 550 per hectolitre of pure alcohol for alcohol and alcohol contained in other beverages.

For the last-mentioned category, Member States which apply a rate of duty exceeding ECU 1 000 per hectolitre of pure alcohol may reduce it but not below ECU 1 000.
For the same category, Denmark and Italy were allowed to maintain their existing tax arrangements until 30 June 1996 provided that their rates did not fall below the minimum rate laid down.

Reduced rates may be applied in certain regions of Greece, Italy and Portugal (see the 'Related Acts' section below).

Every two years, the rates of duty are reviewed and any necessary adjustments made, the first review having been made on 31 December 1994.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 92/84/EEC10.11.199231.12.1992OJ L 316 of 31.10.1992

Report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee, of 26 May 2004, on the rates of excise duty applied on alcohol and alcoholic beverages (presented pursuant to Article 8 of Council Directive 92/84/EEC on the approximation of excise duty on alcohol and alcoholic beverages) [COM(2004) 223 - Not published in the Official Journal].

The report examines the status of Community legislation in the field of excise duties on alcohol and alcoholic beverages, which entered into force on 1 January 1993 and has not been amended since. The Commission analyses the effect of the current system on the proper functioning of the internal market, the competition between the different categories of alcoholic drinks induced by different rates of excise duty, the real current value of the minimum rates of duty set in 1992 and the wider objectives of the Treaty on European Union. It concludes that greater convergence is needed between the rates of excise duty applied in different Member States, so as to reduce distortions of competition and fraud. In view of the highly disparate opinions of Member States on the appropriate level of minimum excise duty, and since any change would require unanimous agreement, the Commission refrains from formulating proposals at this stage. Instead it intends to launch a broad debate in the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee. On the basis of the outcome of this debate, the Commission will decide whether or not to submit proposals on some or all of the issues raised in this report.

Council Decision 2002/166/EC of 18 February 2002 authorising France to extend the application of a reduced rate of excise duty on "traditional" rum produced in its overseas departments [Official Journal L 55 of 26.02.2002].

This Decision is justified by the fact that the distilleries in Reunion, Martinique and Guadeloupe can keep up their activities only by retaining their share of the market in mainland France. Moreover, this industry, which is not competitive, provides some 40 000 jobs. However, the reduced rate may not be more than 50% lower than the standard national excise duty on alcohol and is confined to an annual quota of 90 000 hl of pure alcohol. The measure aims to extend the derogation authorised by the Council Decision of 30 October 1995 which expires on 31 December 2002. The extension will run for a period of seven years, from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2009.

Council Decision 2002/167/EC of 18 February 2002 authorising Portugal to apply a reduced rate of excise duty in the autonomous region of Madeira on locally produced and consumed rum and liqueurs and eaux-de-vie [Official Journal L 55 of 26.02.2002].

The derogation introduced by the Decision is considered to be vital for the survival of the local industry producing and marketing the beverages produced in Madeira and the Azores. Sales of these spirits also provide 130 jobs. The reduced rate may not be more than 75% lower than the standard national excise duty on alcohol. The extension will run for a period of seven years, from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2008.

 
Last updated: 17.08.2004
Legal notice | About this site | Search | Contact | Top