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Common provisions

The basic principles applicable to all products subject to excise duties have been laid down in  Council Directive 2008/118/EC of 16 December 2008 concerning the general arrangements for excise duty and repealing Directive 92/12/EEC.

Products subject to excise duties are generally produced, and can afterwards be held under duty suspension, in tax warehouses. The establishment and operation of tax warehouses is subject to the authorization of the Member States. They should respect the principles laid down in Commission Recommendation 2000/789/EC of 29 November 2000 setting out guidelines for the authorisation of warehousekeepers under Council Directive 92/12/EEC (since 2008 replaced by Council Directive 2008/118/EC) in relation to products subject to excise duty.

The products can be sent under duty-suspension from a tax warehouse or from a place of importation dispatched by a  registered consignor  in one Member State to:

  • Destinations indicated in  article 17(1)a  of Council Directive 2008/118/EC
    • another  tax warehouse;
    • a registered consignee;
    • a place where the excise goods leave the territory of the European Union, as referred to in Article 25(1);
    • a consignee referred to in Article 12(1), where the goods are dispatched from another Member State;

They can also be released for consumption in which case excise duties have to be paid.

For the transport of excisable goods between Member States the documents laid down in

  • Article 21(1) of Council Directive 2008/118/EC  (electronic administrative document – eAD and Commission Regulation (EC) 684/2009)  for movement under excise duty-suspension arrangements or
  • Commission Regulation (EEC) No 3649/92 of 17 December 1992 on a simplified accompanying document for the intra-EU movement of products subject to excise duty which have been released for consumption in the Member State of dispatch

have to be used.

A distinction has to be made between commercial traffic and transport of goods by private people.

  • For commercial traffic, the principle of taxation in the Member State of destination applies. Therefore, products which have already been released for consumption and which are transported to another Member State will be subject to excise duty in the Member State of destination. To avoid double taxation, Directive 2008/118/EC  provides for a system of reimbursement of the excise duty paid in the first Member State , subject to conditions to be determined by that Member State .
  • For excise products purchased by private travellers for their own use and transported by themselves from one Member State to another, the principle of taxation in the Member State of origin applies. This means that excise duty will only be due in the Member State of purchase and that no further excise duty applies in any other Member State to which the products are transported. More information is available on the page "travellers".