Taxation and Customs Union

Excise duties on alcohol, tobacco and energy

This section refers to excise duties to be paid by economic operators (businesses) - for more information on the amount of alcohol, tobacco or cash you can bring when you travel as a private person – visit the Your Europe website.

Excise duties are indirect taxes on the sale or use of specific products, such as alcohol, tobacco and energy. The revenue from these excise duties goes entirely to the country to which they are paid.

In this section, you will find more information on:

EU countries agreed on common EU rules to make sure that excise duties are applied in the same way and to the same products everywhere in the Union. For example, by applying at least a minimum rate of excise duty.
This helps prevent trade distortions in the Single Market, ensures fair competition between businesses, and reduces administrative burdens for companies.

In addition, EU law also sets out common provisions, which apply to all products subject to excise duties.
These common provisions include the framework for the Excise Monitoring and Control System (EMCS), an IT system for monitoring the movement of excise goods within the EU.

On 19 December 2019, the Council adopted a series of new rules on the common provisions, which will be applicable from 13 February 2023.

In 2020, DG TAXUD finalised a study on the common provisions relating to cross border acquisitions of excise products by private individuals, cross border distance selling of excise products by businesses to consumers and the wholesale to retails sales of excise products by a business in one Member State to a business in another.