Excise duties & consumer tax

The EU legislation in the area of excise duties does not have “direct effect”. This means that the EU legislation in this area must always be transposed into the national legislation of the different EU member states. Under the Dutch national legislation based on the EU legislation, the following goods are classed as excise goods:

  • Beer;
  • Wine and intermediate products;
  • Other products containing alcohol;
  • Tobacco products;
  • Mineral oil.

The European legislation also gives the EU member states the option to levy taxes that are similar to excise duties, provided that these taxes do not cause any problems in the transport of such goods between different EU member states. The Netherlands has made use of this option for the so-called “consumer tax” (verbruiksbelasting). In some EU member states, a different term is used for this kind of tax: “national excise duties”. In the Netherlands, consumer tax is levied on non-alcoholic beverages (fruit and vegetable juices, soft drinks and mineral water).

Our services

At DHK we have very extensive knowledge and experience in the area of excise duties & consumer tax. Our services in this area comprise:

  • Planning options with respect to excise duty & consumer tax aspects relating to product development, purchasing (e.g. tariff classification; whether excise duty or consumer tax is payable or not), and inclusion of excise duty & consumer tax procedures in logistic and distribution processes (assisting with applications for the permits: Excise Warehouse, Registered Consignor, Registered Consignee, Establishment for Goods Liable to Consumer Tax; exemption permits; issuing and receiving EAD customs documents);
  • Reduction / management of excise duty & consumer tax compliance costs;
  • Identifying and proposing ways to reduce excise duty & consumer tax risks;
  • Conducting checks in the area of excise duty & consumer tax compliance;
  • Conducting objection and appeal procedures and proceedings with Dutch Customs and at the Dutch tax court and the European Court of Justice.


Our approach

We usually perform our work on a dossier basis, for both Dutch clients and international clients (established either within or outside of the EU). For a small number of clients we perform the work on a continuous basis.

In principle, we only advise our clients on the basis of the Dutch excise duty & consumer tax legislation. For excise duty dossiers that relate to other EU member states, we can only advise our clients at the level of EU excise duty legislation. If more information is required at the detailed level of the EU member state concerned, we ask a local customs consultant to assist. This local customs consultant then provides the advice for the EU member state concerned, either directly to our client or via us. The way this is done is naturally discussed and agreed with our client. In certain cases we do this kind of work ourselves: on the instruction of or in close collaboration with law firms and/or accountancy firms in other EU member states, for their clients.