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Alcohol duty

General Information

Alcohol and goods containing alcohol produced in Austria or imported into Austria are subject to alcohol excise duty. This entails an obligation to obtain approval for the production, storage, processing and/or untaxed transfer of alcohol and to submit an alcohol excise duty return. Movement of alcohol that is in free circulation with other EU Member States must be notified in advance to the customs authorities (→ BMF)German text.

Enterprises Affected

Persons or associations of persons

  • who manufacture alcohol as concessionary distillers or as owners of a bonded distillery,
  • or who intend to move, store or process alcohol under duty suspension (i.e. not yet taxed) as an alcohol warehouse, registered recipient or owner of a utilisation operation.

Caution

In general, these rules also apply to businesses from EU Member States in Austria.

Requirements

Approvals are required for intended activities. These are obtained from the customs office (→ BMF)German text responsible. The conditions vary according to the nature of the activity for which the application is made but will generally include a good tax record, correct and proper bookkeeping, a payment bond, where applicable the ability to seal the tax warehouse (bonded distillery, bonded alcohol warehouse) and where applicable a minimum annual turnover.

The production of alcohol under the concessionary arrangements is subject to special rules as set out in this document ("Concessionary distilleries").

Excise duty applications in FinanzOnline

Through FinanzOnline (→ BMF)German text, the following applications are available: SEED-on-Europa (SEED system for exchange of excise data)German text, EMCS (Excise Movement and Control System), → EVA (Electronic Excise Duty Return) and EKA (electronic system for collection, control and analysis of alcohol production by distillation).

SEED

SEEDGerman text 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).

EMCS

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.

EVA, EKA

When a tax liability arises, alcohol excise duty must be notified via an → EVAGerman text, in accordance with the deadlines. In addition, the EVA can also be used to apply for refunds and reimbursements.

For alcohol produced under concessionary arrangements, a special application is available in EKA for the submission of concessionary returns by electronic means.

Deadline

Alcohol excise duty must be reported in writing by the 25th of each month. The quantities removed from the tax warehouse in the preceding month or withdrawn for consumption must be stated.

The tax due must be paid no later than the 25th day of the next but one calendar month after the tax liability arises. The Alkoholsteuergesetz contains various different rules concerning the submission of the tax return and the payment of alcohol excise duty, such as in cases of irregularities, for movements of alcohol in free circulation and for the production of alcohol under concessionary arrangements.

Competent Authority

The customs authority (→ BMF)German text for the area in which the business establishment is located

Procedure

The application for operating approval to be granted must be submitted in writing to the customs authority (→ BMF)German text responsible.

The alcohol customs duty return must be submitted via → EVAGerman text and FinanzOnline (→ BMF)German text.

The transfer of alcohol under duty suspension is conditional on registration via → EMCSGerman text and FinanzOnline (→ BMF)German text.

Anyone wishing to purchase alcohol tax-free and use it tax-free outside of a tax warehouse

  • for the production of medicines, vinegar, fortified wine for distillation,
  • denatured for the production of foodstuffs (that no longer contain any alcohol),
  • denatured for the production of goods that are neither medicines nor foodstuffs, or
  • denatured for heating or cleaning purposes or for other purposes that are not used in the manufacture of goods

requires an approval (known as an exemption certificate).

The holder of an exemption certificate must keep the following (dated) records to show what happens to the alcohol:

Utilisation operations

  • When and how much alcohol has been obtained by the utilisation operation
  • when and how much has been used in the utilisation operation (inc. purpose), and
  • when and how much has been transferred from the utilisation operation (inc. name/company and address of the purchaser) and identification of the notice providing entitlement to do so.

If the alcohol was imported into the tax territory, the date of transfer to free circulation, the identity of the customs authority where the transfer took place, and the name/company and address of the applicant must be specified.

Bonded distilleries

These must maintain a logbook of operations for each calendar year recording the start and end date and time of each use of each piece of equipment used in the production of alcohol. If measuring equipment to monitor spirits is available, then the position at the start of the year and at the end of each production of alcohol (in the case of continuous alcohol production, then at regular intervals at least once a day) must also be entered.

Furthermore, the following must be recorded:

  • The date of production, quantity and product from which the alcohol was produced
  • The date of purification, removal for consumption or destruction
  • The date of receipt, the quantity and the name/company and address of the person supplying the alcohol
  • The date of transfer, the quantity and the name/company and address of the purchaser

Alcohol warehouses

These must maintain an operations book for each calendar year. The operations book must contain the start and end date and time of each use of each piece of equipment for purifying alcohol.

Furthermore, the following must be recorded:

  • The date of purification, processing or destruction and the quantity
  • The date of receipt, the quantity and the name/company and address of the person supplying the alcohol
  • The date of processing or consumption
  • The date of transfer to free circulation
  • The identity of the customs authority where the transfer took place and the name/company and address of the applicant when the product was imported into the tax territory
  • In addition, for products transferred out of the warehouse,
  • the type of product, the date of transfer, the quantity and the name/company and address of the purchaser

Concessionary distilleries

Preconditions are that the alcohol-forming substances be self-produced and that a ‘simple distillation device’ approved (following application) by the locally responsible customs authority (→ BMF) be used. The application must include the name/company, address, storage location and an elevation diagram with a description of the distillation device and documents to support the details provided.

The quantities of alcohol on which duty is to be paid are determined from the expected alcohol yield relating to the substances (fruit/cereal type) used.
The duration of distillation is determined according to the capacity of the distillation device used and the quantity of mash.
Before commencement of distilling operations, a concessionary return must be made including in particular the following information:

  • The name/company and address of the applicant
  • A declaration that the applicant has sufficient quantities of self-produced alcohol-forming substances available
  • A declaration that the applicant is due to receive a tax exemption
  • A declaration of undertaking that the alcohol produced
    • will be released in small containers only to hospitality businesses and end consumers
    • will be released other than in small containers solely to proprietors of alcohol warehouses
    • will not be transferred or caused to be transferred outside the tax territory
  • The owner and storage site of the permitted simple distillation device
  • The site at which the alcohol is produced
  • The quantity, nature and yield of the self-produced alcohol-forming substances, destined for the production of alcohol, that will be processed
  • The quantity of alcohol that has been produced by distillation in the current calendar year
  • The quantity produced under the concessionary arrangements
  • The duration and timetable of distillation
  • A self-generated calculation of duty (the duty must be paid by the 25th day of the calendar month following that in which the tax liability arises)

The concessionary distiller must maintain a supervisory logbook in which details including the nature and quantity of the alcohol-forming substances destined for the production of alcohol are to be recorded. In particular, the date of production, date of transfer to alcohol warehouses and the quantity of alcohol must be entered.

The concessionary distiller must notify the customs authority (→ BMF)German text without delay of all transfers of alcohol for delivery into an alcohol warehouse. The owner of a simple distillation device must keep records on the whereabouts of the device.

Pharmacies and drug stores

In addition, the following obligations regarding record-keeping apply to pharmacies (and to some drug stores):

  1. If the alcohol has not been denatured, information must be provided on the formulation of the product
  2. Supply to doctors, dentists, veterinary surgeons, midwives or on medical prescription of 0.5 litres  or more (name and address of purchaser)
  3. Transfer or use (for medicines) of up to 3 litres

Notification requirements

  1. Production operations:
  2. notification must be given of commencement of activities.
  3. Alcohol duty returns must be submitted on a monthly basis via the EVA.
  4. Storage operations:
  5. notification must be given of commencement of activities.
  6. Alcohol duty returns must be submitted on a monthly basis via the EVA.

In addition, stocktaking must be performed annually.

Commercial dispatch of goods into free circulation in a Member State of the EU
In such cases, attention should be paid to the following:

  1. Notification to the customs authority responsible regarding the intended transfer.
  2. Form VSt 2
  3. The completed VSt 2 is to accompany the delivery
  4. Receipt of the goods in the other Member State must be confirmed
  5. Evidence must be obtained of the payment of or liability for alcohol duty in the receiving State
  6. On provision of the above evidence, Austrian alcohol duty can be refunded

Further information
Further information and manuals for →SEEDGerman text, → EVAGerman text and → EMCSGerman text are available on the VIP (Excise Duty Internet Platform) under "Help".

Documents Required

  • Name and address of the business
  • Location and territorial scope
  • A description of the operation, including a site plan
  • A site plan, elevation diagram and description of the equipment
  • A description of the production and warehousing process

Expenses

A fee may be charged for all official activity that is undertaken at a specific time requested by the applicant.

In addition, costs will be incurred for special monitoring, for a second and each additional alcohol assessment within one calendar month, for denaturing and for expert reports.

Additional Information

Duty rates

  • Alcohol duty is charged at 1.200 Euro per 100 litres of pure alcohol (standard rate).
  • Alcohol duty is reduced to 54 percent of the standard rate (i.e. 648 Euro per 100 litres of pure alcohol) when a maximum of 400 litres of pure alcohol per year is produced in a bonded distillery.
  • Alcohol duty is reduced to 54 percent of the standard rate (i.e. 648 Euro per 100 litres of pure alcohol) when a maximum of 100 litres of pure alcohol per year is produced under concessionary arrangements, and for a further 100 litres of pure alcohol the alcohol duty will be 90% of the standard rate (i.e. 1.080 Euro).

Legal Basis

Expert Information

There is no expert information available.

To Form

Translated by the European Commission
last update: 1 January 2021

responsible for content: Federal Ministry of Finance

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