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Brussels, 31 March 2010

New electronic system to monitor the movement of excise goods

On 1 April 2010, a new electronic system for monitoring and controlling the movement of excise goods (alcohol, tobacco and energy products) within the EU becomes operational. The Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) will make intra-Community trade in excise goods cheaper and simpler for operators, while also making it quicker and easier for Member States to tackle excise fraud. Designed to replace the current paper-based system, the EMCS is a computerised structure for recording in real-time the movement of products for which excise duties have still to be paid. It is estimated that about 100 000 traders dispatch around 4.5 million consignments of excise goods between Member States each year, and the EMCS will help to reduce the financial and administrative burdens that they face. Member States' authorities and economic operators can join the system progressively until 1 January 2011, after which the EMCS will be fully applied throughout Europe.

EU Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta for Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud, said: "Tackling fiscal fraud is a top priority for the Commission and Member States, and this new electronic system will help a lot with this goal. It will also be of great benefit to traders within the EU, by cutting red tape and reducing compliance costs."

Monitoring the movement of excise goods

Under EU legislation, excise duties must be paid on alcohol, tobacco and energy products at the final point before consumption. Therefore, while these goods are in transit to their final destination and no excise duty has yet been paid on them, Member States need a system of monitoring their movement to ensure that the duties are properly levied at the final destination. Currently, a paper-based system is applied, whereby the person who consigns the goods must complete an "Accompanying Administrative Document" (ADD) which travels with the goods to their final destination. Once the consignment arrives at its final destination, the recipient must acknowledge its receipt through the paper-based procedure.

A quicker, more efficient system

The EMCS will replace the paper AAD with an electronic record – the e-AD. This e-AD is sent electronically by the consigner of the goods to the final recipient, via the EMCS systems in the Member States of dispatch and destination. When the goods arrive, the recipient files an electronic report of receipt, which is sent to the consignor who can then discharge the movement. This computerised system makes the whole process much faster and easier for traders, and also allows them to recover the financial guarantees they had to make for the excise products much more quickly.

Better equipped to tackle fraud

The EMCS will allow Member States to monitor more closely and accurately the movement of goods for which excise duties have still to be paid. This will create faster information exchange between authorities and help to prevent and detect excise fraud.

For further information on the EMCS project, see:

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