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Legislation

The basic legislative act is:

  • Council Directive 2011/64/EUpdf  of 21 June 2011 on the structure and rates of excise duty applied to manufactured tobacco (codification). This Directive
    • defines the various categories of manufactured tobacco (cigarettes, fine cut tobacco intended for the rolling of cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos, other smoking tobacco);
    • lays down the general principles governing taxation of manufactured tobacco;
    • provides for an overall minimum excise duty of 57% of the weighted average retail selling price of cigarettes;
    • provides for a minimum amount of excise duty of 64 Euro per 1000 cigarettes irrespective of the weighted average retail selling price;
    • determines the minimum rates for fine-cut smoking tobacco intended for the rolling of cigarettes, namely 40% of the weighted average retail selling price or 40 Euro per kilogram;
    • determines the minimum rates for cigars and cigarillos, namely 5% of the retail selling price inclusive of all taxes or 12 Euro per 100 items or per kilogram;
    • determines the minimum rates for other smoking tobaccos, namely 20% of the retail selling price inclusive of all taxes, or 22 Euro per kilogram.
  • This Directive repealed

  • as amended by the Directives listed in Annex I, Part A without prejudice to the obligations of the Member States relating to the time-limits for transposition into national law and application of the Directives set out in Annex I, Part B (see Article 21 of Council Directive 2011/64/EUpdf).

  • According to this Directive, Member States have to apply to cigarettes a specific excise duty per unit of the product and a proportional excise duty calculated on the basis of the weighted average retail selling price. Furthermore, Member States may choose between either an ad valorem duty, or a specific duty or a mixture of both on manufactured tobacco other than cigarettes.


Brief history of the EU legislation in the area of tobacco taxation:


Council Directives 92/79/EEC, 92/80/EEC and 95/59/EC were last amended by Council Directive 2002/10/EC of 12 February 2002 as regards the structure and rates of excise duty applied on manufactured tobacco and by Council Directive 2003/117/EC of 5 December 2003, authorising the French Republic to prolong the application of lower rates of excise duty to tobacco products released for consumption in Corsica, from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2009.

The European Commission on 16 July 2008 presented a Report and a proposal for a Directive to amend the current EU excise duty legislation on tobacco. This Directive was adopted by the Council on 16 February 2010 and published in the Official Journal of the European Union L 50/1 on 27 February 2010 (Council Directive 2010/12/EUpdf). Amongst other matters, it foresaw a gradual increase in the EU minimum taxation levels on cigarettes and fine cut tobacco up to 2014 and 2018 respectively. The Directive also aimed to contribute to reducing tobacco consumption by 10% within the next 5 years.

Further information to the history and background documentation of Council Directive 2010/12/EU can be found here: press release (IP/08/1149 Choose translations of the previous link  ), the frequently asked questions (MEMO/08/506 Choose translations of the previous link  ), the proposal (COM/2008/459pdf(70 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  ), the Commission report (COM/2008/460pdf(102 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  ), former Commissioner Kovács's speechpdf(17 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  , the presentationpdf(550 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  , the Impact Assessment (SEC/2008/2266) and its summary (SEC/2008/2267pdf(21 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  ), and the external studypdf(3.59 Mb) Choose translations of the previous link  . The EU Council of Ministers on 10 November 2009 reached a political agreement on the draft Directive (See the Council press releasepdf).

Due to the fact that the Council Directives 92/79/EEC, 92/80/EEC and 95/59/EC were substantially amended several times and in the interests of clarity and rationality the said Directives have been codified by assembling them in a single act. This single act was adopted by the Council of Ministers on 21 June 2011 and published in the Official Journal of the European Union L 176/24 on 5 July 2011 (Council Directive 2011/64/EUpdf). This Directive entered into force retroactively from 1 January 2011.