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Taxation and Customs Union

Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS)

The Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) is a computerised system for recording and monitoring the movement of excise goods (alcohol, tobacco and energy products) in the territory of the EU.

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)
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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

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:

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.

Related links and background information