Taxation and customs union

EMCS: History

1 January 1993, the Internal Market was launched and goods could circulate freely within the EU.

A common system was needed for the control and movement of duty-suspended excise goods, to prevent fraud and ensure payment of excise duties in the Member State of destination.

Only authorised economic operators were allowed to move excise goods in duty-suspension, under Council Directive 92/12/EEC. The goods had to be accompanied by a paper document – the Accompanying Adminstraive Document (AAD), and a guarantee to financially secure the movement of the goods on which excise was still due.

May 1998, in reaction to high levels of fraud linked to the intra-EU circulation of excise goods, the EU Council of Economic and Finance Ministers (ECOFIN) endorsed a High Level Group report recommending that a computerised trader-to-trader link, via Member States' administrations, be set up. This was to become the EMCS.

1999-2000, the Commission conducted a Feasibility Study which concluded that it was possible to replace the paper-based AAD with an electronic messaging system.

June 2003, Decision No 1152/2003/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council was adopted, laying down the legal basis for the development of EMCS. It repealed Directive 92/12/EEC.

May 2005, EMCS Functional Excise System Specification (FESS) is published by the Commission, outlining the business processes involved in EMCS.

January 2009, the new horizontal Directive 2008/118/ECconcerning the general arrangements for excise duty entered into force, and provides the legal framework for EMCS

April 2010, EMCS became operational. Economic operators progressively joined EMCS, and all Member States had to be able to discharge the new computerised electronic Adminstrative Document (eAD).

January 2011, EMCS became compulsory, and the AAD could no longer be used. All excise goods moved under duty suspension had to be registered with the eAD.

January 2012, EMCS is completed and all functionalities are fully in place