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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.

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.

In this section, you will find more information on:

Common Excise Duty Provisions

Common Excise Duty Provisions

Excise Duty on Alcohol

Excise Duty on Alcohol

Excise Duties on Tobacco

EU legislation on excise duties for manufactured tobacco defines: the categories of manufactured tobacco products (cigarettes and “other tobacco products”), the principles of taxation, the minimum rates and structures to be applied.

Excise Duty on Energy

EU excise duty rules cover all energy products used for heating and transport, as well as electricity.

Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS)

The Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) is a computerised system for monitoring the movement of excise goods under duty suspension in the EU.