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EC To Provide Free Online Access To Excise Registration Numbers

by Ulrika Lomas, for, Brussels

18 October 2006

From Monday, the European Commission has announced that it will provide businesses with free online access to excise registration numbers, which are attributed to operators permitted to produce, store, transport and/or receive excise products under suspension of duties.

This online access to 'SEED-on-Europa' allows verification of the validity of economic operators’ excise numbers and the categories of goods for which the operator is authorised. This will increase legal certainty and transparency for traders wishing to send excise goods under suspension of duties.

The launch of 'SEED-on-Europa' marks the first step in the implementation of a paperless environment for excise movement procedures in support of an effective e-Excise policy.

"I am very happy that the Commission and the Member States actively participate in the efforts for better e-governance" announced Taxation and Customs Commissioner László Kovács, continuing:

"Offering free on-line tax related information to the business will facilitate legitimate trade and support effort to better tackle tax fraud."

Excise duties are indirect taxes on the consumption or the use of certain products. In contrast to Value Added Tax (VAT), they are primarily expressed as a monetary amount per quantity of the product. EU legislation on excise duties applies on alcoholic beverages, tobacco products and energy products (such as petrol and gasoline).

Commercial movements of excise products between Member States usually take place under suspension of excise duties and excise duty is finally paid to the Member State where the goods are marketed. These transports must be accompanied by a paper document (called the AAD or Administrative Accompanying Document). When the goods are at destination, the recipient must acknowledge receipt of the goods to the sender by sending back a copy of the paper document.

Both the sender and the recipient of the products must be registered in the SEED database in their Member State to respectively send and receive products under suspension of excise duties.

SEED-on-Europa, available in all EU languages, will ensure that businesses will be able to check on-line the validity of the registration number of their partners in other Member States and the product categories for which it is valid, instead of having to ask national administrations to check the validity of a number.

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