Skip to main content
Taxation and Customs Union
News announcement10 February 2023Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union

All excise duty transactions in the EU become fully electronic as of 13 February

On 13 February, Member States will start applying new excise duty rules following an update of the Directive on general arrangements for excise duty. These rules will make the taxation of alcohol, tobacco and energy products fully paperless across the EU. The move to digitalised and immediate information exchange on the movement of such products across the Union will help authorities fight excise duty fraud – a problem which costs Member States millions in budget contributions a year.

At the same time, the new standardised, electronic system will simplify life for traders, especially energy suppliers and smaller producers of alcohol, and will help speed up trade in the relevant sectors. Digital excise duty procedures were previously available only to traders operating under the so-called ‘duty suspension’ procedure. Until now, goods needed to be accompanied by physical hard copy paper declarations when the excise duty was being immediately accounted for at their destination.

Under the new measures entering into application on Monday, all traders moving excise goods from one Member State to another in the EU will only need to submit digital transaction information into the already existing EU Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS). The system will capture and process information about the movements online, validate the data entered and allow real time notification of the dispatch and receipt of excise goods. It also allows the immediate exchange of secure online messages containing specific consignment and movement information between Member States, freeing up administrative costs, time and resources for businesses, and giving authorities the information they need to crack down on fraud more effectively.

The updated Directive on general arrangements for excise duty (the “Horizontal Excise Directive”) sets out general arrangements for goods subject to excise duty, including those around production, storage and movement of excise goods across the territory of the EU. Together with a range of other measures on excise duties, the Directive will support a closer Single Market by digitalising declarations, reducing administrative burden to excise operators, and further preventing tax fraud.

More information on the new measures and on the general rules governing excise duty in the EU is available here.


Sign up here for DG TAXUD’s monthly newsletter


Publication date
10 February 2023
Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union