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General arrangements for, and the holding and movement of, products subject to excise duty

To ensure the free movement of excisable products, the present directive harmonises the general arrangements for such products at EU level.


Council Directive 92/12/EEC of 25 February 1992 on the general arrangements for products subject to excise duty and on the holding, movement and monitoring of such products [See amending acts].


The present directive contains a consolidation of the directives on the arrangements for products subject to excise duty and other indirect taxes except for VAT and taxes established by the Community.

The directive defines the territory within which the directive in question and the specific Directives on the rates and structures of duty on products subject to excise duties are applicable.

The products covered by the directives are mineral oils, alcohol and alcoholic beverages, and manufactured tobacco. They may be subject to other indirect taxes levied for specific purposes.

Member States retain the right to introduce or maintain indirect taxes levied on products other than those mentioned above provided that those taxes do not give rise to border-crossing formalities.

Country in which the excise duty is chargeable:

  • products released for consumption in one Member State and held for commercial purposes in another Member State are subject to excise duty in the Member State in which they are held;
  • products acquired by private individuals for their own use and transported by them are taxed in the Member State in which they are acquired; various criteria have been established to enable individuals to prove that their purchases are for personal use;
  • products purchased by persons who are not authorised warehousekeepers or registered or non-registered traders and dispatched or transported directly or indirectly by the vendor or on his behalf are subject to excise duty in the Member State of destination.

Each Member State determines its rules concerning the production, processing and holding of products subject to excise duty, subject to the provisions of the Directives in question. Where excise duty has not been paid, the production, processing and holding of products are monitored under the tax warehousing arrangements.

The present directive establishes a procedure for the movement of products referred to by the Directive in question under suspension arrangements: the tax authorities in the Member States are informed by traders that carry out or receive supplies on the basis of an administrative or commercial accompanying document.

Where products subject to excise duty are released for consumption in a Member State and are intended to be moved to that same Member State via the territory of another Member State, the accompanying document must be used.

Information shown on the copies of the accompanying document intended for the competent authorities of the Member States of departure and destination may be transmitted by computerised means.

Internal transit documents and TIR or ATA Convention documents serve as the accompanying document for excise-duty purposes.

The lodging of a guarantee is compulsory to cover the risks inherent in the movement of goods. Member States may introduce provisions to guarantee the risks inherent in the production and storage of such goods.

The consignor may, subject to certain conditions, change the name and address of the consignee on the accompanying document.

In the case of frequent and regular movements of products subject to excise duty under suspension arrangements, the Member States may permit a reduction of discharge procedures.

Armed forces and international organisations are authorised to receive products under excise-duty suspension arrangements provided that an exemption certificate is attached to the accompanying document.

Small wine producers may be exempted from certain requirements under the general arrangements for excise duty.

Establishment of a Committee on Excise Duties with the task of examining the Community measures necessary to implement the provisions on excise duties.

Directive 92/12/EC is repealed with effect from 1 April 2010 by Directive 2008/118/EC.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 92/12/EEC



OJ L 76 of 23.03.1992

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 92/108/EEC



OJ L 390 of 31.12.1992

Directive 94/74/EC



OJ L 365 of 31.12.1994

Directive 96/99/EC



OJ L 8 of 11.01.1997

Directive 2000/44/EC



OJ L 161 of 01.07.2000

Directive 2000/47/EC



OJ L 193 of 29.07.2000

Regulation (EC) No 807/2003



OJ L 122 of 16.05.2003

Directive 2004/106/EC



OJ L 359 of 04.12.2004


Report of 2 April 2004 from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee on the application of Articles 7 to 10 of Directive 92/12/EEC [COM(2004) 227 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Decision No 1152/2003/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 June 2003 on computerising the movement and surveillance of excisable products [Official Journal L 162 of 01.07.2003]. This Decision establishes a computerised system for the movement and surveillance of excisable products, namely mineral oils, alcohol and alcoholic beverages and manufactured tobaccos. This computerised system is intended, on the one hand, to permit the electronic transmission of the accompanying administrative document, which must be completed by the consignor for the movement of these products, and the improvement of checks and, on the other hand, to improve the functioning of the internal market, by simplifying the intra-Community movement of products under excise duty suspension arrangements, and by affording Member States the possibility of monitoring the flows in real time and of carrying out the requisite checks where necessary. The computerised system will be made up of Community and non-Community components. Activities relating to the initiation of the application of the computerised system will begin not later than 12 months after the entry into force of this Decision.

Regulation (EC) No 31/96 of 10 January 1996 on the excise duty exemption certificate [Official Journal L 8 of 11.1.1996].

Commission Regulation (EEC) No 3649/92 of 17 December 1992 on a simplified accompanying document for the intra-Community movement of products subject to excise duty which have been released for consumption in the Member State of dispatch [Official Journal L 369 of 18.12.1992].

Commission Regulation (EEC) No 2719/92 of 11 September 1992 on the accompanying administrative document for the movement under duty-suspension arrangements of products subject to excise duty [Official Journal L 276 of 19.9.1992].

Last updated: 29.07.2009