Alcohol

Alcohol

Alcohol means beer, wine, fermented beverages, intermediate products and other alcohol (spirits).

Handling of alcohol means the manufacture, processing and bottling of alcohol (or production), import, export, offering for sale, or sale by an undertaking to other undertakings or to any other persons in terms of the wholesale trade, and also offering it for sale, or sale to consumers, i.e. in terms of the retail sale, and keeping, storage or delivery for commercial purposes.

The undertakings operating in wholesale and retail trade of alcohol must be registered in the Commercial Register and also as wholesale traders or retail traders in the Register of Economic Activities. The right to import and export alcohol may have undertakings which are entered in the Commercial Register and also hold a registration in the Register of Economic Activities which indicates the right to handle the alcohol in wholesale or retail trade or catering service.

Alcohol handled must meet the requirements specified in alcohol definition, description and the terms of offering alcohol for sale, it must be filed with the State Register of Alcohol, it must comply with the parameters indicated in the test product protocol or certificate submitted to the State Register of Alcohol upon filing, and conform to the product samples of the consumer packaging and markings submitted to the aforementioned register upon filing.

Revenue stamp

Also alcohol, the ethanol content exceeding 22 per cent by volume and which is bottled in the sales packaging of a net content of 0.05 litres or more, shall be revenue stamped.

The requirement of revenue stamping applies to alcohol imported into Estonia, transported from other Member States, or relieved in Estonia for consumption in any other way, except when the exemption from excise duty or excise suspension arrangement has been applied to such alcohol.

Revenue stamp means a special marking which conforms to special security requirements and is attached to excise goods or the sales packaging thereof indicating the payment of excise duty.

Revenue stamps can be ordered from the Estonian Tax and Customs Board by the importer of alcohol products, an excise warehousekeeper, a registered trader or the person who brings in Estonia for commercial purposes the alcohol permitted for consumption in another Member State. The revenue stamps shall be issued if the person meets the requirements set in the Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act, included:

  1. the person holds a valid excise warehouse activity licence, an activity licence of a registered trader, the importer holds a notation regarding the alcohol import in the register of economic activities, or the person holds a notation regarding the wholesale trade, retail trade or catering service in the register of economic activities;
  2. the person has no tax arrears, including tax arrears payable in instalments;
  3. the person has provided security accepted by the Estonian Tax and Customs Board.

In Estonia the alcohol can be revenue stamped in the excise warehouse, customs warehouse or the place of business of the registered trader. Also alcohol can be revenue stamped in another Member State or third country.

Excise duty shall be imposed on alcohol produced in Estonia, delivered from other Member States into Estonia or imported for release for free circulation in Estonia. Excise duty on alcohol produced in Estonia shall be paid by the warehouse keepers, excise duty on alcohol transported from other Member State shall be, as a general rule, paid by the excise warehouse keepers or registered traders, and excise duty on alcohol imported into Estonia shall be paid by the importers.

Upon acceptance or dispatch of alcohol from the excise warehouses for consumption the excise duty on alcohol shall be paid by the twentieth day of the next month thereof, and upon importing alcohol the excise duty shall be paid pursuant to the customs rules.

Upon production, processing, warehousing, acceptance of alcohol in the excise warehouses and dispatch of alcohol from the excise warehouses the excise suspension arrangement shall be applied. The excise warehouse keepers shall provide a security to the customs authorities in order to ensure the fulfilment of the tax liabilities that have arisen or may arise. Excise duty on alcohol shall be imposed not before the alcohol is dispatched from the warehouses for consumption. Excise duty shall be paid periodically, by the twentieth day of the calendar month following the taxable period, which is in the case of an excise warehouse keeper one calendar month.  Also by the same date the excise duty returns shall be submitted to the customs authorities.

The registered traders become liable for excise duty upon acceptance of alcohol, and in their place of business they are permitted to keep only the alcohol that is subject to excise duty. The taxable period is one calendar month and excise duty shall be paid by the twentieth day of the next month thereof like the excise warehouse keepers are obliged to do.

Excise duty on alcohol released for consumption in another Member State, which is transported to Estonia to be used for commercial purposes shall be paid by the undertaking that receives the alcohol. The undertaking shall submit an excise duty return and pay the excise duty not later than on the fifth day after the tax liability arises. The undertaking has the obligation to inform the Estonian Tax and Customs Board in writing of the intention to receive the alcohol before the alcohol is dispatched from another Member and to provide security before the alcohol is dispatched from another Member State into Estonia.

For an importer a tax liability arises upon the import of alcohol on the date when the customa debt is incurred and a debtor shall submit an excise duty return and pay excise duty pursuant to the Community Customs Code.

Alcohol that is not permitted for consumption (application of excise suspension) shall move across the Estonian border to an excise warehouse, to the registered trader's place of business, or between the excise warehouses in Estonia. Alcohol must be transported together with the accompanying documents.

The movement of alcohol between the Member States must be carried out pursuant to the delivery notes established in the EU legislation. A delivery note must contain an adequate description of the goods and other information that would enable to identify the origin of alcohol and the persons responsible for it. Upon importation of alcohol the customs declaration shall be used instead of the accompanying document.

Alcoholic beverages consumed on board aircraft or sea-going vessels during Intra-Community passenger transport, shall be exempt from excise duty. However, alcoholic beverages sold on board air craft or sea-going vessels to be taken away, are subject to excise duty.

Contacts

Marietta Loorents
Estonian Tax and Customs Board, Tax Department
Phone: +372 676 2167
E-mail: marietta.loorents@emta.ee

26.02.2016