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Taxation and Customs Union

Excise taxation – cooperation between national administrations

Under single market legislation, EU member states are solely responsible for administering and collecting excise duties. To fight tax evasion and eliminate double taxation, they require efficient, user‑friendly tools for administrative cooperation.

To this end, information should be exchanged electronically wherever possible – using standard, easily understandable formats.


Decision 1152/2003/EC established the funding and the collaboration between the Commission and EU member states for the development of the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS).

Since 2012 EMCS has incorporated the processes and messages for exchanging information needed for administrative cooperation. The legal basis for automating these exchanges is Regulation 389/2012.


  • computerises the movement and surveillance of excisable products
  • uses standard formats for exchanging information, so that requests can be processed faster, saving time and money
  • simplifies communication and provides standard questions & replies in all official EU languages, helping complete the internal market.

Regulation (EU) No. 389/2012

Since EMCS was created in 2003, several pieces of EU legislation have helped it keep pace with new technology. The most recent, Regulation (EU) No. 389/2012:

  • lays down clearer, stricter rules governing the exchange of information
  • provides for more direct contact between national anti‑fraud agencies
  • facilitates more extensive exchange of information
  • strengthens, simplifies and replaces provisions that were in Regulation (EC) No.2073/2004 relating to administrative cooperation in the field of excise duties
  • establishes EMCS as the normal means through which information concerning administrative cooperation is exchanged.

Since 2013, detailed provisions are under discussion on administrative cooperation – including exchange of information and statistics.

Legal references

Regulation (EU) No. 389/2012

Administrative cooperation in excise duties

(replaces the repealed Reg. 2073/2004)

More efficient cooperation in collecting excise duties



Regulation (EC) No. 684/2009

Electronic exchange of info between economic operators & EMCS

(implementing provisions of Directive 2008/118/EC) as amended by Regulation (EU) 1221/2012


Decision 1152/2003/EC

Funding, specification & development of EMCS