Taxation and Customs Union

Excise Duty on Alcohol

EU legislation on excise duties on alcohol covers:

Alcohol and alcoholic beverages are also subject to the common provisions for excise goods under EU law.

Excise duties on alcoholic beverages

Excise duties on alcohol are regulated through two main pieces of EU legislation.

i) The Directive 92/83/EEC on excise on duties sets out:

  • The structures of excise duties on alcohol and alcoholic beverages
  • The categories of alcohol and alcoholic beverages subject to excise duty
  • The basis on which the excise duty is calculated

It also includes special provisions such as reduced rates for small breweries and small distilleries, certain products and geographical regions.

On 29 July 2020, the Council a series of new rules (Council Directive 2020/1151) amending Directive 92/83/EEC on the harmonization of the structures of excise duties on alcohol and alcoholic beverages, which will be applicable from 1 January 2022.

ii) Directive 92/84/EEC sets out minimum rates that must applied to each category of alcoholic beverage as well as reduced rates for certain Greek, Italian and Portuguese regions.

EU legislation only sets harmonised minimum rates.

This means that EU countries are free to apply excise duty rates above these minima, according to their own national needs.

Excise products and minimum rates

Excise product Rate expressed per: Minimum rate:

Beer

Hectolitre per degree Plato

OR

Hectolitre per degree alcohol

EUR 0.748

EUR 1.87

Wine

(still and sparkling)

Hectolitre of product

EUR 0

Intermediate Products

(e.g. port, sherry)

Hectolitre of product

EUR 45

Spirits

Hectolitre of pure alcohol

EUR 550

Alcohol and alcoholic beverages are also subject to the common provisions for excise goods under EU law.

Traditional and locally produced products 

Special legislation exists, relating to some specific products in certain EU Member States:

  • Council Decision No 189/2014/EU of 20 February 2014 authorises France until 31 December 2020 to apply a reduced rate of certain indirect taxes on ‘traditional’ rum produced in Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique and Réunion. On 24 July 2020, the Commission made a proposal for a new Council Decision extending the current authorisation to 31 December 2027 (proposal).
  • Council Decision No 376/2014/EU of 12 June 2014 authorises Portugal until 31 December 2020 to apply a reduced rate of excise duty on locally produced and consumed rum and liqueurs in the autonomous region of Madeira and on locally produced and consumed liqueurs and eaux-de-vie in the autonomous region of the Azores. On 18 June 2020, the Commission made a proposal for a new Council Decision to amend this authorisation.

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