Excise tax (Germany)

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Excise taxes burden the consumption of certain goods and services. Historically, they have been the cornerstone of most tax systems, along with traffic taxes. In the past, excise taxes were levied on both basic foodstuffs (salt tax, beer tax) and luxury goods (tobacco tax, liquor tax).

As cost control go excise duties in the company product costing , and can access the end user passed on to. Excise taxes are part of the assessment basis for sales tax , which is why tax accumulation occurs (e.g. 10 euros petrol + 20 euros energy tax + 19% sales tax from 30 euros = 35.70 euros).

Types of excise duties

The oldest consumption tax on German soil is likely to have been the salt tax , which was already levied in the Franconian Empire (now abolished as part of the harmonization of consumption taxes in the EC ). More recent consumption taxes are the coffee tax , the natural gas tax as part of the mineral oil tax , the electricity tax and the alcopop tax .

In general, a distinction is made between the special consumption taxes that are levied by the federal government and the local consumption taxes that are levied by the federal states.

Taxes on goods that are considered harmful to the consumer, the environment or society are also known as Sin Tax . Their collection is intended to regulate the consumption of the good in question.

The following consumption taxes are levied in the Federal Republic of Germany (excluding the Büsingen area and excluding the island of Helgoland ):

Discontinued excise: salt control , sugar control , Zündwarensteuer ( zündwaren monopoly ) Lamp control , tea tax , game card control , acetic acid control , nuclear fuel tax

Legislative and revenue competencies

According to the Basic Law, the federal government is entitled to legislative authority over consumption taxes if it is entitled to the revenue in whole or in part (so-called revenue authority, Article 106 (1) No. 2 of the Basic Law). This applies to the special excise duties mentioned above. An exception is the beer tax ( Article 106, Paragraph 2, No. 4 of the Basic Law); the respective countries are entitled to its revenue. The state of Bavaria insisted on this regulation when creating the Basic Law. In the case of beer tax, the federal government only has legislative competence because the preservation of legal and economic unity requires this in the national interest. The federal customs administration is responsible for collecting and administering the special consumption taxes regulated by federal law .

The local consumption taxes are the legislative competence of the federal states, their income belongs to the municipalities and, if necessary, the municipal associations ( Article 106, Paragraph 6, Basic Law).

The tax is for a judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court at the intersection of consumption and transaction taxes . According to its economic effect, it is a consumption tax, but according to the legal form it is a transaction tax. With the exception of import sales tax , it is levied by the state tax authorities.

The so-called eco-tax is legally not a consumption tax, not even a tax of its own. The term eco-tax stands for taxes on goods such as petrol, diesel, kerosene, etc., the consumption of which pollutes the environment. With the “Law on the Entry into Ecological Tax Reform”, the electricity tax was introduced and changes were made in the field of mineral oil tax, also with legal reference to ecology .

Tax breaks

Tax breaks ( tax reductions or tax exemptions ) are provided in all consumption tax laws. Beer and brandy are exempt from tax if they are used for specific purposes (e.g. making vinegar or pharmaceuticals). Mineral oil is exempt from tax when it is not used as a fuel or heating medium (e.g. use as a lubricant), and also when used in commercial aviation. The tax exemption for mineral oil used in commercial aviation has been criticized for environmental reasons.

Survey procedure

For reasons of convenience, excise duties are not collected directly from the consumer. Rather, the excise duties are levied from the manufacturer or the retailer. Because of this form of collection, excise taxes are indirect taxes .

Beneficiaries of the individual excise duties

The revenue from the individual consumption taxes flows to different levels of government (see Art. 106 GG):

  1. The federal government receives the tobacco tax , liquor tax , intermediate product tax , sparkling wine tax , energy tax , electricity tax , alcopops expensive and the coffee tax .
  2. The federal and state governments are jointly entitled to import sales tax .
  3. The countries are entitled to the beer tax .
  4. The municipalities are entitled to local consumption taxes ( municipal taxes ), which are based on state law or the municipal tax determination law . An excise duty is:

Expense taxes are:

European Union

Harmonized excise duties

The taxes on energy products and electricity, alcohol and alcoholic beverages as well as tobacco products are in accordance with European law. Art. 1 para. 1 of Directive 2008/118 / EC harmonized. Basic for the definition of the individual tax items are the Directive 2003/96 / EC for energy, the Directive 92/83 / EEC for beer and mixed beer beverages within the meaning of CN codes 2203 and 2206 as well as Directive 95/59 / EC , Directive 92 / 79 / EEC and Directive 92/80 / EEC for tobacco products. Only the tax items defined there are taxed in each European member state. The guidelines contain binding provisions such as B. Minimum tax rates or provisions on tax-free transactions, but are only indirect EU law. They must therefore be implemented in national laws, such as the Energy Tax Act.

Wine is a specialty , for which the minimum tax rate is EUR 0, but which is recorded as a goods subject to excise duty in the Sparkling Wine Tax Act .

In contrast to these harmonized consumption taxes, Directive 2008/118 / EC in Art. 1 (2) and (3) leaves the member states free to introduce new, purely national consumption taxes. One example is the German alcopop tax .

Movement of goods with other member states

A distinction must be made between the following groups of cases:

  • Shipping between companies

The dispatch of these goods can be untaxed, then the tax arises in the destination country . The dispatch must be processed via the computer system EMCS . In the case of taxed goods (so-called “tax-free circulation”), the tax is also incurred in the country of destination , i.e. initially twice. If proof is provided that the goods were taxed in the country of destination, the tax can be reimbursed in the country of destination .

  • Travel (private individuals)

The tax arises in the country of origin if the travel allowance is not exceeded. In the case of larger quantities, it is rebuttedly presumed that it is a commercial transport. If this presumption cannot be rebutted, the tax arises twice.

  • Mail order (shipping from companies to private individuals)

The mail order company must appoint an agent in the country of destination before shipping . He has to register with his competent main customs office and fulfills all tax obligations. An example of the provisions can be found in Section 21 of the Sparkling Wine Tax Act. If the sender does not adhere to these regulations, he becomes liable for tax himself. In the mail order business, the - private - recipient can never be directly liable for tax.

  • Non-harmonized excise duties (like coffee)

For these goods, the provisions on travel and bringing goods out of tax-free circulation in other member states apply. A traffic under tax suspension is not possible. The provisions on mail order business only apply in the direction of the German tax area.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Philipp Tibulski: EU and constitutional considerations of non-harmonized excise taxes Federal University for Public Administration 2015
  2. Sabine Schröer-Schallenberg: The legality of non-harmonized excise duties in the European internal market using the Federal Republic of Germany as an example World Customs Journal 2012, pp. 9-18 (English)
  3. Alcohol in the European Union. Shipping made easy IHK Munich, October 4, 2017