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Document 62013CJ0165

Gross

Judgment of the Court (Second Chamber), 3 July 2014.
Stanislav Gross v Hauptzollamt Braunschweig.
Request for a preliminary ruling from the Bundesfinanzhof.
Taxation — Directive 92/12/EEC — Articles 7, 8 and 9 — General arrangements for products subject to excise duty — Products released for consumption in one Member State and held for commercial purposes in another Member State — Whether excise duty is chargeable to a person holding those products who has acquired them in the Member State of destination — Acquisition at the end of the entry process.
Case C‑165/13.

Case C‑165/13

Stanislav Gross

v

Hauptzollamt Braunschweig

(Request for a preliminary ruling from the Bundesfinanzhof)

(Taxation — Directive 92/12/EEC — Articles 7, 8 and 9 — General arrangements for products subject to excise duty — Products released for consumption in one Member State and held for commercial purposes in another Member State — Whether excise duty is chargeable to a person holding those products who has acquired them in the Member State of destination — Acquisition at the end of the entry process)

Summary — Judgment of the Court (Second Chamber), 3 July 2014

1.        Tax provisions — Harmonisation of laws — Excise duties — Directive 92/12 — Excise duty having to be identical in all Member States — Prevention of double taxation

(Council Directive 92/12)

2.        Questions referred for a preliminary ruling — Jurisdiction of the Court — Identification of relevant EU law — Reformulation of the questions

(Art. 267 TFEU; Council Directive 92/12)

3.        Tax provisions — Harmonisation of laws — Excise duties — Directive 92/12 — Products released for consumption in one Member State and held for commercial purposes in another Member State — Person receiving the products at issue — Products held successively by several persons — Excise duty chargeable to all persons holding the products

(Council Directives 2008/118, Art. 33(3) and 92/12, Arts 7(3) and 9(1))

1.        See the text of the decision.

(see para. 17)

2.        See the text of the decision.

(see para. 20)

3.        In expressly providing that the person ‘receiving the products’ at issue may be liable to excise duty on products subject to that duty released for consumption in a Member State and held for commercial purposes in another Member State, Article 7(3) of Directive 92/12 on the general arrangements for products subject to excise duty and on the holding, movement and monitoring of such products must be interpreted as meaning that, where the products have been held successively by several persons, any holder of the products at issue is liable to excise duty.

A more restrictive interpretation, to the effect that only the first holder of the products at issue is liable to excise duty, would defeat the purpose of Directive 92/12. Under that directive, the movement of products from the territory of one Member State to that of another may not give rise to systematic checks by national authorities, which are liable to impede the free movement of goods in the internal market of the European Union. Consequently, such an interpretation would render more uncertain the collection of excise duty due upon the crossing of an EU border.

That conclusion is also supported by Article 33(3) of Directive 2008/118 concerning the general arrangements for excise duty and repealing Directive 92/12, which simplifies the provision made under Article 7 of Directive 92/12 by referring solely to the person ‘to whom the goods are delivered in the other Member State’.

It follows that Article 9(1) of Directive 92/12, read in conjunction with Article 7 of that directive, must be interpreted as allowing a Member State to designate as liable to excise duty a person who holds for commercial purposes, on the fiscal territory of that State, products subject to excise duty that have been released for consumption in another Member State, even though that person was not the first holder of those products in the Member State of destination.

(see paras 25-28, operative part)

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