European Council Updates Excise Duties On Cigarettes And Tobacco Products..

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February 16, 2010 - The Council (the European Council is the institution of the European Union (EU) responsible for defining the general political direction and priorities of the Union) today, Tuesday, February 16th adopted a directive updating EU rules on the structure and rates of excise duties on cigarettes and other tobacco products (17778/09 + 5807/10).

The directive is intended to ensure a higher level of public health protection by raising minimum excise duties on cigarettes, whilst bringing the minimum rates for fine-cut tobacco gradually into line with those for cigarettes. The outcome of a fourth four-yearly review of tobacco taxation under directives 92/79, 92/80 and 95/59, it is aimed at modernising and simplifying the rules and making them more transparent.

The new directive includes the following provisions:
– Cigarettes: the Council decided to increase, by 1 January 2014, the monetary minimum excise rate to 90 EUR per 1000 cigarettes and the proportional minimum to 60% of the weighted average sales price, from 64 EUR per 1000 and 57% at present;
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– Transitional period for cigarettes: the new rules allow for transitional arrangements until 1 January 2018 for member states that have not yet achieved, or only recently achieved, the current minimum rates, namely Bulgaria, Greece, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland and Romania;
– Quantitative restrictions for cigarettes: the directive allows member states not benefiting from the transition to impose a quantitative limit of at least 300 cigarettes on the number of cigarettes that may be brought into their territory from member states applying transitional arrangements. It also allows member states applying those arrangements, once their rates have reached 77 EUR per 1000 cigarettes, to apply quantitative limits with regard to member states whose rates have not yet reached an equal monetary level;
– Fine-cut tobacco: the Council decided to increase the minimum excise duty requirements for fine-cut tobacco as follows: member states will comply with either a proportional minimum or a monetary minimum, amounting to 40% of the weighted average sales price and 40 EUR per kg on 1 January 2011, 43% and 47 EUR/kg on 1 January 2013, 46% and 54 EUR/kg on 1 January 2015, 48% and 60 EUR/kg on 1 January 2018 and 50% and 60 EUR/kg on 1 January 2020.

Reference: European Council Updates Excise Duties On Cigarettes And Tobacco Products, Source: European Council,

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