Allegrini 2018

EU and alcohol taxes: taxes remain unchanged, but the game of regime change is not over yet

Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece are the only countries openly opposed to the proposal of the Romanian presidency to find one parameter for all drink

No changes have been made, but just for the moment. Ecofin, the Council of European Union Finance Ministers, has not given the green light to the proposal to revise directive 92/83 regarding harmonizing excise duties and taxes on alcoholic beverages proposed by the Romanian presidency. The proposal, as WineNews has already reported, would allow member states to adopt a single taxation system for alcoholic beverages; or, alcohol-based taxation, which would absolutely penalize wine, for which excise duties now are established by volume. Therefore, everything remains as is, for the moment (today taxation is established by volume for fermented products, such as wine, and for intermediate products, by degrees for spirits, and plato degrees for beer), but the game is not over yet. Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal were the only countries that openly opposed the proposal, while Germany proposed a more in-depth assessment of the possible impact of the proposed change, and countries such as Austria, Romania, Estonia, Sweden, Ireland, Luxembourg, Slovenia and Slovakia, and others as well, expressed their support for the proposal, though with some variances, and it seems that France has agreed, too. Some of the most controversial points in the proposal, in any case, include the parameters to define “small producers” who should benefit from tax breaks. So for now, wine is spared, since according to many it would be heavily penalized by a tax established on degrees of alcohol, especially in the Northern European countries. According to some, on the other hand, even spirits would see the excise tax splash upwards through a change of legislation like the one that has been proposed.

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