More than 190 000 economic operators currently use the system, it is a key facilitation instrument for EU economic operators trading excise goods and a crucial tool for information exchange and cooperation between Member States.
The purpose of the EMCS is to:
- Combat fiscal fraud, with real-time information and checks on goods being moved under duty-suspension
- Ensure the secure commercial movement of excise goods
- Simplify procedures for traders, with a standardised, electronic system for the whole EU
- Speed up the release of guarantees when goods arrive at their destination
- Create a paperless administration
The EMCS in practice
Under EMCS, a movement of excise goods is documented at every stage through an electronic Administrative Document (e-AD), for duty suspension goods, or through an electronic Simplified Administrative Document (e-SAD) in the case of duty paid movements.
- The e-AD/e-SAD is issued by the original consignor, containing information on the consignment and the planned movement within the EU.
- The e-AD/e-SAD is validated in the Member State of dispatch. A European register of operators (SEED) is used to check the excise numbers of the consignor and consignee.
- The e-AD/e-SAD is electronically transmitted by the Member State of dispatch to the Member State of destination.
- The Member State of destination forwards the e-AD/e-SAD to the consignee
- The consignee submits a "report of receipt" once he/she has received the excise goods. This report should mention any anomalies, such as shortages or excesses in the consignment.
- The report of receipt is sent to the consignor. Based on the report of receipt the consignor will be able to discharge the movement and recover the financial guarantees they had to make (in case of duty suspension) or to request a refund of the duties paid before dispatch (in case of duty paid movement)
Next to the provisions set in Directive 2020/262, the content of the e-AD and the e-SAD is laid down in Delegated Regulation 2022/1636 whereas the rules for their use are defined in Implementing Regulation 2022/1637.
System of Exchange of Excise Data (SEED)
SEED is a register of economic operators, part of which traders can consult online, to see whether a given excise number is valid and what categories of goods the operator in question is authorised to trade.
It is a core component of the EMCS, as it allows Member States' administrations to validate authorisations of traders before giving them permission to move any excise goods under duty suspension.
Since 13 February 2023 SEED also includes operators authorised to move goods in duty paid status (certified consignor and certified consignee).
See also: EMCS - Core business module. An introductory course to the EMCS
ARC Follow-up is the service available to Economic Operators and Member States officials that shows the state of EMCS international movements through the Europa website.
It is sufficient to enter an ARC (Administrative Reference Code) to get the state of the corresponding EMCS movement.
EMCS: Member States' Websites
For more detailed information on the EMCS implementation in a specific Member State, visit the national websites:
- GAMMA for e-AD (click on the button "Je m'identifie")
- GAMMA2 for e-SAD (click on the button "Je m'identifie")
EMCS: Legislation and Reports
The provided texts of excise legislation are consolidated versions containing the latest amendments, but please bear in mind these documents are meant purely as a documentation tool and the institutions do not assume any liability for its contents.
- Council Directive (EU) 2020/262 lays down the general arrangements for excise duty and the basic legal framework for the EMCS. This Directive repeals and replaces Directive 2008/118/EC as of 13 February 2023. Directive 2020/262 sets the horizontal rules for excise duties on alcohol, tobacco and energy products and provides for the EMCS. The information how Members States have implemented optional provisions of the Directive is contained in this document.
- Council Regulation 389/2012 sets implementing provisions for administrative cooperation between Member States through the EMCS.
- Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2022/1636 lays down the structure and content of the documents to be used for the movement of excise goods
- Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/1637 defines the use and procedure of the documents in the context of movement of excise goods
- Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/323 lays down detailed rules on cooperation and exchange of information between Member States regarding excise goods.
- Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 612/2013 sets detailed rules on the operation of register of economic operators and tax warehouses, related statistics and reporting.
- Decision (EU) 2020/263 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 January 2020 on computerising the movement and surveillance of excise goods (recast) is the legal foundation for the development of EMCS, to computerise the system under which excise duty goods are moved between authorised EU traders under duty-suspension arrangements. This decision repeals and replaces Decision n° 1152/2003/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council.
- A Report on the implementation and evaluation of Directive 2008/118/EC was published in 2017 (COM (2017) 184 final) tog