Avoid double excise duty when exporting excise goods
- Marco van Hagen
- 18 Apr 2023
- Edited 13 Feb 2023
- 6 min
- Managing and growing
Excise is a national tax on excise goods, such as beer, petrol, and cigarettes. If you export excise goods, you either pay excise duty in the Netherlands or your customer pays excise duty in the destination country. In this article, two excise specialists explain how to export excise goods and who pays the excise tax, because ‘it is easy to make a mistake with the export of excise goods if you do not know what you are doing’ .
Excise goods are products that you trade or produce and for which excise duties are due to the Dutch government. Dutch Customs are responsible for collecting excise duty. You do not have to file a customs declaration when exporting excise goods to another EU country, but you do need a customs declaration for goods exported to non-EU countries.
Excise goods consist of six main groups: beer (in Dutch), wine (in Dutch) and intermediate products (in Dutch), miscellaneous alcoholic beverages (in Dutch), tobacco products (in Dutch), and mineral oils (in Dutch).
Exporting duty-suspended and duty-paid excise goods
Excise goods can be exported in two ways: in duty suspension and as duty-paid goods.
Exporting goods in duty suspension
You do not pay any duties in the Netherlands nor does your customer pay duties upon receipt of the goods. Only when your customer resells or uses the excise goods do they pay the duties due in their own country. To move goods in duty suspension, you need a Registered Consignor Permit, and your customer needs an Excise Warehouse Permit (EWP) or an Registered Consignee Permit.
Moving duty-paid excise goods
You pay excise duties in the Netherlands and your customer pays the duties due in the destination country upon arrival.
Exports within the EU
If you export goods to EU countries, you do not have to file an export declaration, but there are VAT and excise duty rules you have to observe. The key differences between moving duty-paid and duty-suspended excise goods are outlined below. Please note that different rules apply to B2B and B2C sales.
Supplying B2B suspended-duty excise goods
John Sampers, consultant with customs services provider SGS Maco, explains how to export suspended-duty excise goods within the EU.
To supply another business with suspended-duty excise goods, your customer needs an Excise Warehouse permit (EWP, in Dutch) or a Registered Consignee permit and you need their permit number.
Draw up an e-AD and enter the permit number. Sign up the shipment in the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS, in Dutch). You will then receive an Administrative Reference Code (ARC).
Tax authorities may audit the shipment. Provide the carrier with a printed version of the e-AD or include the ARC on the transportation document or your sales invoice. These documents allow tax authorities to see who is responsible for paying excise duties.
Supplying B2B duty-paid excise goods
If your customer does not have an Excise Warehouse Permit or Registered Consignor Permit, you have to pay duties in the Netherlands. Sampers explains: “The process of paying excise duties in the Netherlands consists of five steps.”
Release the excise goods from your EWP by filing a declaration via Mijn Douane (Belastingdienst, in Dutch) Enter the quantity of excise goods you are exporting.
Pay the duties due to the Dutch tax authorities.
Draw up a ‘Simplified Administrative Accompanying Document’ (SAAD).
Ship the goods to the other EU country with the SAAD.
Claim a refund of the excise duty paid via Mijn Douane.
If you do not have an Excise Warehouse Permit or Registered Consignor Permit, you will have already paid the Dutch duties via Mijn Douane and can skip steps one and two.
To supply duty-paid goods to a customer in another EU member state, you will need a Simplified Administrative Accompanying Document (SAAD) (Belastingdienst, in Dutch). A SAAD is a standard three-part document that you can order from Beurtvaartadres (in Dutch). Part three must be stamped in your customer's country and lets you reclaim duties paid.
New procedure for 2023
The rules for exporting duty-paid goods within the EU have changed as of 13 February 2023. As of that date, the exporting company needs a Certified Consignor Permit, while the recipient in the other EU member state needs a Certified Consignee Permit. Both the consignor and consignee are required to declare the shipment in EMCS. You can download the permit application forms from the website of Dutch Customs (in Dutch).
Supplying B2C duty-paid excise goods
Only companies are allowed to have an Excise Warehouse Permit or Registered Consignor Permit, which means you can never deliver duty-suspended excise goods to consumers.
“You have to pay duties in the EU country where you deliver excise goods to consumers,” Sampers says, “which means you will need a local tax representative (Belastingdienst, in Dutch).” The process is the same as for B2B duty-paid excise goods. “However, you will need to change the address label,” Sampers notes, “To the address of your tax representative. This will tell customs in the destination country that the excise duties have been paid.”
Exports outside the EU
Exporting goods in duty suspension
Jörg Bruijn is an excise expert at Nedcargo, a logistics service provider specialising in beverage exports. He explains how to move excise goods in duty suspension: “Exporting suspended-duty excise goods outside the EU is easy.”
If you want to export excise goods suspended outside the EU, submit an electronic administrative document (e-AD) to the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) (Belastingdienst, in Dutch) Select the ‘export destination’ . You will then get an Administrative Reference Code (ARC).
File an export declaration.
Mention the ARC number in your export declaration, along with your excise permit number. If you are using someone else's EWP, use the corresponding permit number.
Customs will sign off on your export declaration with a 'confirmation of exit' when your shipment leaves the EU. The next step is to report this confirmation of exit to Dutch Customs’ Central Excise Unit (in Dutch) in Emmen, which will then sign off on your e-AD in EMCS.
Moving duty-paid excise goods
You do not need an e-AD if you pay excise duties in the Netherlands, but you will have to file an export declaration or have a logistics service provider file one for you. You are allowed to reclaim paid excise duties.
Declaring goods in the destination country
Whether you also have to clear exported goods with local customs depends on the Incoterm® rule you agree on with your customer.
“We regularly come across exporters who commit to DDP Incoterm® delivery, which means you are responsible for importing the excise goods into your customer’s country,” Bruijn explains. “You are responsible for the import declaration and for paying import taxes such as import duties, VAT and excise duties in that country, which makes the export process a lot more difficult. Agreeing on a different Incoterm rule would make your customer responsible for importing the goods.”
“It is easy to make a mistake with the export of excise goods if you do not know what you are doing,” Bruin cautions. “You might fill in your customs declaration incorrectly, for instance, or use the wrong commodity code with a DDP delivery that may cause you to pay too little excise duties.” Bringing in a logistics service provider with knowledge of excise laws is a good way to avoid problems with customs.
Different countries require different documents for the importation of excise goods. In addition to a sales invoice, some countries will request that you provide a document of origin or a certified copy (in Dutch) of your invoice. Check the Access2Markets database to find out what documents you will need in the destination country and which product requirements apply.
Reclaiming paid duties
If you can only export duty-paid excise goods because you do not have a permit, you have to pay duties in the Netherlands and your customer will have to pay duties in their country. Reclaim the Dutch excise duties you paid through Mijn Douane to avoid paying double excise duties on your goods. You can reclaim excise duties up to three months (in Dutch) after the end of the quarter in which you exported the goods in question.
Your excise duty refund will only be granted if you can prove that you paid the duties in the Netherlands. You can prove this by providing your part of the SAAD or your purchase invoice if you do not have a SAAD.
When purchasing excise goods, have the supplier specify the excise duties separately on the invoice.
When supplying goods to companies with a VAT identification number in another EU member state, you can charge them the 0% VAT rate. Your customer will then apply the local VAT rate to the goods and remit the VAT to the local authorities. This is called an intra-community supply.
When exporting goods to a non-EU country, you should also charge the 0% VAT rate and mention ‘export from EU’ on your invoice. The Dutch tax authorities require that your records prove that the goods have left the EU (Belastingdienst, in Dutch).
If you supply entrepreneurs or institutions that do not have a VAT number or supply consumers in other EU countries, the VAT rules for e-commerce in the EU apply. For excisable goods, this means you should charge the VAT rate of the destination country, regardless of the amount.