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FAQ

  1. What are the benefits of EMCS ?
  2. How will EMCS work ?
  3. How will Economic Operators use EMCS ?
  4. Is the use of EMCS mandatory ?
  5. What happens in case of system unavailability ?
  6. When will EMCS be operational ?
  7. What will be the cost of EMCS for Economic Operators ?
  8. What would the consequences be of having incorrect data in the register of operators ?
  9. Can the e-AD be prepared in advance ?
  10. Which document must accompany the transport ?
  11. How will the economic operators connect to EMCS ?
1. What are the benefits of EMCS ?
The advantages of EMCS for the economic operators are numerous:
  • No more handling of paper documents (creation, handling, archiving);
  • Immediate validation of the e-AD (electronic administrative document), ensuring that the consignee is allowed to receive the goods and minimising the risk of incorrect data;
  • Possible integration of the processing with existing computerised systems (e.g. with ERP software);
  • Faster release of the guarantee thanks to the timely discharge of the movement;
  • Real-time monitoring of the movements;
  • Secure exchange of data between all parties (operators and administrations).
2. How will EMCS work ?
The key element of EMCS is the electronic Administrative Document (e-AD), which replaces the current AAD.
In the case of a movement of excise goods between warehouse keepers, or between a warehouse keeper and a registered trader, the e-AD is prepared by the consignor and submitted to his national administration; the administration validates the e-AD against reference data (e.g. the registration number of the consignor and of the consignee). After validation, the e-AD receives a unique reference code called ARC (Administrative Reference Code) and is automatically returned to the consignor who, only by that time, dispatches the goods.
When the goods arrive, the consignee establishes a report of receipt that he submits to the Member State of destination; the administration validates it according to the e-AD and possibly to complementary information.
After validation, the report of receipt is returned to the consignee for confirmation and to all concerned Member States, including to the Member State of dispatch that in turn automatically forwards it to the consignor.
3. How will Economic Operators use EMCS ?
Economic Operators will be electronically linked to the EMCS system; depending on their business and excise status, they will be able to
  • enter and submit e-ADs, and correct them if necessary;
  • enter or receive report of receipt;
  • submit changes of destination;
  • split the movement if it concerns energy products (not all Member States will allow it - see document on optional provisionspdf(66 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  );
  • follow the status of movements in which they are involved;
  • access their registration information.

Each Economic Operator will use the interface to the system that is provided by his national administration.
Occasional traders who are not connected to the system will receive assistance for introducing data in - or receiving information from - the system.

4. Is the use of EMCS mandatory ?
When EMCS becomes operational, the paper-based system and the electronic system will coexist during a transition period.
Once the EMCS is fully operational (as of 1 January 2011), the current paper-based procedure will completely disappear, and all movements of goods under duty suspension will be monitored by EMCS.
5. What happens in case of system unavailability ?
The EMCS system strongly relies on electronic data exchanges between Economic Operators and Member States. The possibility of failure at this level has been envisaged, and detailed procedures to be applied in this case will be set up. Depending on the degree of unavailability, the exchanges with EMCS will be delayed, or temporarily replaced by paper-based procedures.
See Chapter 6 of the FRSpdf(361 kB)
6. When will EMCS be operational ?
According to current planning, a first group of Member States - and Economic Operators within these Member States - will start using EMCS for the basic functionalities on 01/04/2010. At the same time, all Member States (except Denmark and Poland) will be able to electronically process the movements arriving on their territory (destination side).
7. What will be the cost of EMCS for Economic Operators ?
It is impossible to evaluate the cost of the migration to EMCS for each individual operator. The impact of the new system (adaptation of computerised systems, training of personnel,) will depend on many factors. Overall, however, it is foreseen that the added functionalities of EMCS, and increased legal certainty for economic operators will bring benefits, which will overweight the costs in the longer run.
8. What would the consequences be of having incorrect data in the register of operators ?
EMCS will improve the quality of the database of operators, since updates made at a national level will be disseminated to the other Member States at the latest one day after the update.
From a legal point of view, it is the authorisation of the operator that counts, and not the up-to-datedness of the database.
9. Can the e-AD be prepared in advance ?
The e-AD can be prepared in advance (as a draft e-AD - maximum 7 days before the date of dispatch), but it cannot be modified once it has been validated. On the other hand, a movement cannot start before the date of dispatch, which must be stated in the e-AD.
10. Which document must accompany the transport ?
The transport must be accompanied by a printed version of the e-AD or any other commercial document mentioning, in a clearly identifiable manner, the unique administrative reference code (the ARC code) assigned by EMCS to the movement.
11. How will the economic operators connect to EMCS ?
The EMCS establishes a link between the excise applications of all Member States; these applications are developed by the Member States and are based on common specifications. Although the Commission aims at facilitating access to EMCS by all traders, each Member State will determine how its national excise system will be accessible by the economic operators.