EU EXCISE LEGISLATION: AMENDMENTS TO THE HORIZONTAL EXCISE DIRECTIVE

European excise legislation has been amended recently. This will be discussed in this blog.

The new horizontal excise directive

On 25 March 2020 the new horizontal excise directive, Directive (EU) 2020/262 (hereinafter: the Directive) entered into force. The existing Directive (Directive 2008/118/EC) had already been substantially amended several times and with a number of further changes in the offing, the Commission considered a recast necessary.

The Union and the Member States have until the 31st of December 2021 to implement the changes. This time is granted especially to adjust the electronic systems of the Member States that connect to EMCS and to adjust the EMCS itself (the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) is the automation system to transfer excise goods under an excise duty suspension arrangement). Subsequently, the changes below will only take effect on 13 February 2023. Until this date, the “old” directive will remain in force.

We will explain the main changes hereafter.

Common threshold

Last year authorised excise warehouse keepers of mineral oils and/or alcoholic products which are stored in bulk were surprised by a decrease of thresholds for losses in the transport of excise goods (referred to in section 5.8 of the Dutch excise policies). Now the Commission is announcing plans to adopt delegated acts to achieve common thresholds for partial losses in transport between Member States.

As with the Dutch thresholds, a partial loss that remains within this threshold will not be regarded as releasefor consumption. A Member State will not always be obliged to apply the threshold. If a Member State has a valid reason for considering fraud or irregularities as the cause of the difference, this threshold may be disregarded.

The Dutch threshold continues to apply to transport within the Netherlands (see our blog about the loss thresholds (In Dutch): https://www.kneppelhout.nl/actueel/international-trade-regulatory-douane-accijnzen

Customs procedures in excise legislation

The amendment of Article 189 (4) of the Delegated Regulation to the Union Customs Code (Regulation (EU) 2018/1063) made it possible to continue to transport excise goods which had been exported under an external transit procedure. The Directive now also allows the use of this scheme for excise goods (with status Union goods).

The verification procedure which Member States apply at export is described in Article 21 of the Directive and is based on the unique administrative reference code. In case the export still is non-compliant, a minimal list will be established containing the standard alternative evidence that can be used to proof the export of the excise goods.

The procedures applicable to the release of excise goods for free movement and the direct transport from the place of import to another Member State also have been changed. In this situation the declarant must identify the registered consignor and the consignee. In addition, proof that the excise goods released for free movement were brought to a license holder in another Member State, must be provided to the authorities of the Member State where the goods were released for free circulation.

Transfer of goods which were released for consumption in a Member State

With the introduction of the certified consignor and certified consignee in Chapter 5, Section 2 of the Directive, the last paper guided document will disappear in the regular excise procedures. Under the Directive, excised goods are only transferred between the certified consignor and certified consignee.

The transport of goods released in one Member State for consumption to another Member State, for commercial reasons, is now also covered by an electronic simplified administrative document. To this end, the EMCS is extended with the possibility to monitor the transport movements between these certified parties.

Even if the excise duty has already been paid in the Member State of dispatch, the certified consignee must provide security for the risks of the movement and must pay the excise duty in the Member State of destination according to the rules of that Member State.

If authorized by the Member State of destination, the registered consignee may take receipt of the goods at a location other than his premises if this is notified before the movement starts. We are waiting for the national elaborations for the details of these procedures.

Guarantees movement fixed pipeline

The directive is now relinquishing the provision of guarantees for transport through a fixed pipeline. For the Netherlands the latter will have little impact because a guarantee for this movement, after permission from the inspector, could be omitted (Article 56 of the Dutch Excise Law).

Transitional provisions

The above changes must be implemented in national law by 31 December 2021. For the Netherlands, this means that the excise duty legislation laid down in the Dutch Excise Law (and the various excise policies) must be amended no later than that date. The changes will take effect on 13 February 2023.

Our Kneppelhout International Trade & Regulatory Team has specialists dedicated to customs & excise, ensuring that we are well-placed to assist in developing and reviewing your company’s customs & excise approach.