Movement of excise goods

Excise goods can be procured or dispatched for commercial purposes under duty suspension (i.e. without incurring a tax liability) or as goods in free circulation (in the case of goods on which duty has already been incurred) but will require certain approvals and accompanying documents. The decision over the particular procedure to be followed is in some cases prescribed in law, while in other cases it may be a matter of free choice between the operators involved, depending for example on the size of the business, frequency of deliveries, etc. In all cases, however, it is important that the operators make prior contact with the Customs Authority Austria (→ BMF)German text.

Excise goods include the following:

  • alcohol and goods containing alcohol,
  • beer,
  • sparkling wine, still wine and intermediate goods,
  • mineral oils, motor fuels and heating fuels,
  • tobacco products.

Movement of excise goods under duty suspension

In the case of commercial trade in goods, excise duty is generally payable in the EU Member State where consumption takes place. To facilitate this, excise goods may be moved from one Member State to another under duty suspension until they reach their country of destination.

Excise goods transported under duty suspension are untaxed. The procedure allows to produce, process, store and transport excise goods without taxation. As soon as these goods are released for free circulation, excise duty is payable.

In the EU, all businesses supplying excise goods under duty suspension are required to manage the dispatch of the goods through the EMCS (Excise Movement and Control System), i.e. using an electronic administrative document (e-AD). This administrative document must meet the requirements specified in Regulation (EC) No 684/2009, implementing Directive 2008/118/EC (as of 1 January 2022 Directive (EU) 2020/262, which, however, will not be fully applicable until 13 February 2023) in relation to the e-AD based procedure for the supply of excise goods under duty suspension.

The Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) is an IT-based procedure for monitoring the movement of excise goods under duty suspension over the entire territory of the European Union. Electronic administrative documents and other information are exchanged between operating businesses and customs authorities.

An administrative reference code (ARC) will be issued as evidence that the necessary administrative data have been recorded and an e-AD issued under the EMCS system. The goods must be accompanied by the e-AD or a document showing the ARC.

Participation in the procedure requires a corresponding authorisation from the Customs Authority Austria (→ BMF)German text, it is reserved for holders of tax warehouses, registered consignors, registered consignees and certain privileged recipients (e.g. diplomatic missions, international institutions).

→ SEEDGerman text (System for Exchange of Excise Data) lies at the heart of a system that functions in all Member States. It ensures that national records of traders authorised to use the duty suspension procedures (tax warehouses and approved recipients) can be exchanged with other Member States of the EU and with the European Commission. Using SEED-on-EuropaGerman text, businesses can check the validity of an Excise Duty number (with a summary of the goods permitted to be traded under this Excise Duty number and the role of the trader).

Excise duty applications in FinanzOnline

Through FinanzOnline (→ BMF)German text, the following applications are available: → SEED-on-EuropaGerman text (SEED - System for Exchange of Excise Data), → EMCSGerman text (Excise Movement and Control System) and → EVAGerman text (Electronic Excise Duty Return).

Movement of excise goods in free circulation

If commercial consignments have already been released for consumption in one Member State (and excise duty has therefore been paid in that country) and are subsequently moved to another Member State, this gives rise to a (further) tax liability in the Member State of destination. In order to avoid double taxation, the Member State of departure provides for a refund of the excise duties already paid.

The system for commercial movement of goods in free circulation continues to be paper-based, using a simplified accompanying document. The content of this document must meet the requirements of Regulation (EEC) No 3649/92 and the excise goods must be accompanied by this document during movement. In place of the administrative document, a commercial document (business documents such as invoices, delivery notes, bills of lading) of comparable layout and content may be used.

Proper use of the procedure is conditional on appropriate registration with the Customs Authority Austria (→ BMF)German text and is coupled with certain obligatory notifications (notification of intended procurement; notification of first transfer to other Member States).

From 13 February 2023, in implementation of Directive (EU) 2020/262, the EMCS procedure will be extended to the movement of excise goods in free circulation.

Further links

Legal bases

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 1 January 2022

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Finance

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