Excise tracking goes online

Article Date: 02 December 2010

Traders of duty suspended excise goods are reminded this week that they need to switch from a paper system to the new online Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) on 1 January 2011. The new system is designed to reduce excise fraud across the European Union (EU).

The current paper system for recording the movement of excise goods will end on 31 December 2010 for most movements of duty suspended excise goods from UK excise warehouses and production premises, after which traders must use EMCS.

Kerrie Spendiff, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) Deputy Director Excise and Customs, Policy and Processes, said:

“The new system will improve the efficiency of document processing and control of the movement of excise duty suspension goods throughout the European Union and in the UK. EMCS will reduce the scope for excise fraud as it will allow Member States, traders and HMRC to monitor movements online in real time.

“The important thing is that excise traders enrol early to avoid delays and so that everything is in place as soon as possible. I urge businesses that have not yet registered and enrolled for EMCS to do so now.”

To use the new system, traders must register online at HMRC. After they have registered successfully, HMRC will provide a user ID and activation PIN code. Traders must then activate EMCS within 28 days.

Using EMCS will be compulsory for all movements of duty suspended excise goods in the European Union and in the UK - except for intra-UK movements of energy products and certain intra-UK movements of alcohol and tobacco.

From 20 December, traders can try out dispatching goods on EMCS (for intra-UK and some other Member States) but they must continue to use the paper system until 31 December.

Businesses can access the system using the free HMRC online service or by using their own commercial software.

Notes to editors:

1.      The Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) is an electronic system for recording and validating all movements of ‘duty suspended’ excise goods within the EU.

2.      From 01 January 2011 businesses must use EMCS to dispatch goods to all EU member states. Businesses will not be able to receive or dispatch excise goods after 31 December 2010 under duty suspension if they fail to register and enrol for EMCS. 

3.      HMRC is sending a reminder to those UK businesses affected by these changes.

4.      For information on EMCS see:

5.      The helpline number for general queries about EMCS is 0845 600 5022. Open 08:00 – 17:00 Monday to Friday, except for Bank Holidays.

6.      ‘Excise duty’ is an indirect tax on goods such as beer, wine, cider, spirits, mineral oil, cigarettes and other tobacco products – these goods are known as ‘excise goods’.

7.      ‘Excise duty suspension’ allows goods liable to ‘excise duties’ in the European Community (EC) to be moved to and held within approved ‘excise warehouses’. Any excise duty is suspended until the goods are released for consumption i.e. when they leave ‘duty suspension’. 

8.      In the UK excise goods may only be held in duty suspension in an excise warehouse approved by HMRC to receive those goods.

9.      ‘Intra-UK Movements’ are movements of goods wholly within the UK.

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