Monday, 24 May 2021

16th Sitting of the European Integration Committee

At the sitting held on 24 May 2021, the European Integration Committee considered in principle the Bill amending and modifying the Excise Tax Law, submitted by the Government.

The Bill was presented by Slavica Savicic, State Secretary of the Ministry of Economy who said that its adoption achieves further harmonisation of the excise policy with EU standards concerning the taxation of alcoholic beverages.

Namely, according to EU regulations, the excise duty on strong alcoholic beverages is determined per hectolitre of absolute alcohol at a temperature of 20°C and is calculated on the basis of volume of alcohol expressed in hectolitres of the finished product, regardless of the type of strong alcoholic beverage produced, while the excise tax in the Republic of Serbia on strong alcoholic beverages, according to the legislation in force, is calculated and paid depending on the type of strong alcoholic beverage.

According to Excise Tax Law, all spirits, regulated by rules governing the area – e.g. the Law on Spirit Drinks, are divided into three excise categories depending on the raw materials they are produced from and ethanol content, namely: brandies produced from fruit, grapes, wine and other fruit brandies with the addition of plant extracts, parts of plants or agricultural products, then brandies made from cereals and other agricultural raw materials and other strong alcoholic beverages. All three categories of alcoholic beverages belong to a different excise group and different amounts of excise duty are paid on these alcoholic beverages.

Given that the domestic legislation deviates from the directives of the European Union, the Bill proposes changes in the manner of calculation and payment of excise duty on spirits. The Bill amending and modifying the Excise Tax Law proposes that excise duty on spirits be paid in the amount of 46,250.00 RSD per hectolitre of pure alcohol measured at a temperature of 20°C, and that it be calculated by multiplying the base by a number indicating the volume of alcohol expressed in hectolitres in the finished product.

Considering that the system of excise taxation on alcoholic beverages in the Republic of Serbia is not harmonised with EU directives and that it does not comply with SAA Article 37 (Prohibition of fiscal discrimination), in order to create the conditions for opening negotiations on the Negotiation Chapter 16 - Taxes, the Republic of Serbia needs to adjust its legislation concerning the excise taxation of alcoholic beverages, in order to ensure full compliance with SAA Article 37.

Following the presentation, the Committee members unanimously adopted the Bill amending and modifying the Excise Tax Law, in principle.

The sitting was chaired by Committee Chairperson Elvira Kovacs, and attended by the following Committee members and deputy members: Dijana Radovic, Milan Radin, Nemanja Joksimovic, Vesna Markovic, Viktor Jevtovic, Ana Miljanic, Ana Pesic and Dusica Stojkovic.

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