The Excise Tax: the bane of all distillers’ existence, and part of the reason FIVE x 5 exists! Thoroughly understanding excise tax is essential for the success of a distillery of any size. With partner distilleries in more than 10 countries around the world, the Fx5 team is constantly working to keep abreast of legislative changes, but we wondered – what’s happened around the world with distilled spirits excise specifically? Keep reading for what we found…Did we miss your locality? Let us know!
In 2021, the federal excise tax rate for distilled spirits was permanently reduced to $2.70 per proof gallon for the first 100,000 proof gallons produced. After 100,000 proof gallons, the tax rate increases to $13.34 per proof gallon. Domestic removals or imports (DSP proprietors who do not distill or process the spirit they are distributing) are taxed at $13.50 per proof gallon. As an additional relief post-pandemic, distillers who produced hand sanitizer throughout the pandemic were excused from the $14,000 FDA registration fee threatened in late 2020.
Excise tax rates on distilled spirits in Canada have been steadily increasing for the past four years. In 2017, the excise tax rate on spirits containing more than 7% ABV (rate per liter of absolute alcohol, or LAA) was C$11.93 (US$9.79). As of April 1, 2021, the tax rate is now C$12.736 (US$10.35) per LAA – that’s an increase of more than 6% in four years.
The average EU excise duty on a 700ml bottle of liquor at 40% ABV is €5.07 ($5.68). The highest excise duties are in Finland, Sweden, and Ireland, where the rates for a standard-size bottle of spirit are €13.66 ($15.30), €13.39 ($14.99), and €11.92 ($13.35), respectively. The lowest rate is in Bulgaria, where excise tax is only €1.57 ($1.76) per 700 mL bottle (taxfoundation.org). Across the EU, the standard rate is €550 for a hectolitre of pure alcohol, but EU legislation only sets a standard minimum rate, leaving EU countries free to apply excise duty rates above the minimum according to their own national needs. The last amendment to excise tax policies for the EU was put into effect on July 29, 2020; these policies will be applicable until January 1, 2022.
The UK tax rate for all distilled spirits is £28.74 ($40.48) per liter of pure alcohol (LAA or LPA).
As of February 1, 2021, Australia’s excise tax rate for spirits and other excisable beverages exceeding 10% ABV is AUS$87.68 (US$67.40) per LAA, with the exception of brandy, which is taxed at AUS$81.89 (US$62.95). These are among the highest excise rates of any country in the world. In recognition of the financial burden of excise, the Australian government introduced a program in 2020 allowing for a full refund of all excises paid up to AUS$350,000; as of June 2021, that scheme was changed to remission, meaning Aussie distillers can keep that same AUS$350,000 rather than having to apply for a refund!
New Zealand’s excise tax rates are based on the ABV of product, ranging from NZ$0.45929 per LAA for low-alcohol products (1.15-2.5% ABV) to NZ$55.777 per LAA for spirits over 23% ABV.
In South Africa, the excise tax rate for undenatured ethyl alcohol at or above 80% ABV and for denatured spirits of any strength is R230.18 per LAA (US$16.71).
While the excise tax rates vary across the globe, one thing that remains consistent is the heavy regulation and taxation of alcohol by the federal government in each country. If you need some peace of mind that you’re staying compliant and avoiding costly audits, contact [email protected] to see how FIVE x 5 can help.