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EC Asks Germany, Italy To Amend Excise Duty Rules

by Robert Lee, Tax-News.com, London

11 December 2015


The European Commission has asked Germany and Italy to amend their respective excise duty rules.

The Commission has formally requested that Germany reform how it applies excise duty legislation to tobacco products that are sent by private individuals in small, non-commercial mails from another European Union country. Under the current rules, excise duty is assessed on such packages but, due to the lack of German markings (which have to be requested and affixed to the products before they enter German territory) the products cannot be given to the intended recipient and are confiscated and destroyed.

The Commission said that the systematic confiscation and destruction of goods, without any differentiation based on the circumstances of the case, is contrary to the principle of proportionality set out in EU law. If Germany does not respond to the Commission's satisfaction within two months, it may be referred to the Court of Justice.

The Commission has also asked that Italy amend legislation that grants a reduction on the price of petrol and diesel bought by motorists resident in the country's Friuli-Venezia Guilia region. The Commission said that this constitutes a reduction of excise duties on the fuel not provided for in the EU's Energy Tax Directive. Italy has two months to respond satisfactorily, or be referred to the Court of Justice.

TAGS: individuals | Energy | tax | European Commission | law | excise duty | legislation | Germany | Italy | tax reform | European Union (EU) | Europe

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