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Brussels mulls revision of excise duty rules

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Brussels mulls revision of excise duty rules

Photo © Vaclav Zilvar - Fotolia

(BRUSSELS) - The EU Commission launched a consultation Wednesday on how excise duties are applied to alcohol and alcoholic beverages, as it eyes a revision of tax rules to support small drinks producers.

The aim of the current EU excise duty rules for alcohol is to prevent trade distortions in the Single Market, ensure fair competition between businesses, and reduce administrative burden for businesses.

Specifically, the rules define product categories, methods to charge the duty and provide for reduced rates and exemptions from excise duty.

However, these rules have not changed since 1992, the EU executive says, and a recent Commission report recommended clearer tax rules to support small producers of alcoholic beverages and to fight the sale of dangerous counterfeit alcohol.

There is also a need to reduce costs for smaller businesses, says the Commission.

In December, EU Finance Ministers requested the Commission carry out the necessary studies to prepare a possible legislative proposal to revise the common rules.

The aim now is to identify ways to alleviate the administrative burden for both Member States and business, while reducing distortions in the internal market.

Excise duties are indirect taxes on the sale or use of specific products. They are usually applied as an amount per quantity of the product - e.g. per 1,000 litres in the case of alcohol. Revenues from excise duty go directly to the coffers of EU Member States.

The consultation will run until 7 July 2017.

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