Exporting excise goods to the EU

From 1 January 2021, there will be changes to how you export and declare excise goods – alcohol, tobacco and certain oils.

This guidance was withdrawn on

From 1 January 2021, exports of excise goods from Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) to the EU will be treated the same as exports to the rest of the world. This includes moving excise goods to a place of export in Great Britain.

There will be different rules in respect of Northern Ireland movements after transition.

Exporting excise duty-paid goods

From 1 January 2021 you’ll need to submit an electronic customs export declaration. If you’re a business, you may be able to recover the excise duty on the exported goods by claiming excise duty drawback.

Exporting excise duty-suspended goods

From 1 January 2021 you cannot use the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) to move excise duty-suspended goods directly from Great Britain to the EU. You’ll need to declare the goods for export on EMCS and submit an electronic customs export declaration. If you move goods without following the relevant customs export procedures at the place they are exported from, you may be liable for excise duty and penalties. Your goods may also be seized.

Moving excise duty-suspended goods to the place of export from Great Britain

You must use EMCS to move excise duty-suspended goods from within Great Britain to the place they are being exported from.

You’ll need to either:

  • make sure the authorised warehousekeeper declares the movement on EMCS when the goods are held in excise duty-suspension in their warehouse
  • appoint a registered consignor to move the goods or become a registered consignor – when the goods are being released from a customs control for re-export

The authorised warehousekeeper or registered consignor must:

  • complete and submit an electronic administrative document (eAD) through EMCS before the movement takes place
  • get a unique Administrative Reference Code (ARC) for that specific movement – that EMCS generates
  • complete a customs export declaration using the National Export System (NES) and enter the ARC in box 40
  • receive an ‘accepted for export’ notification on EMCS after the goods are cleared by customs – this should be generated if the ARC on EMCS matches the details in box 40 of the customs export declaration
  • receive a ‘report of export’ to make sure the export is closed on EMCS

If the ARC does not match the customs export declaration within 30 days of the customs export declaration being submitted, the warehousekeeper or registered consignor will receive a ‘rejected for export’ notification to remind them that the movement is still open on EMCS. You’ll need to establish why this has happened and take corrective action.

If you’re exporting excise goods under eAD using EMCS, you must make sure you submit a departure message to CHIEF to achieve ICS60. This will make sure EMCS is updated to ‘Delivered’.

If you’re exporting excise goods using the Customs Supervised Export (CSE) simplification through a roll on roll off (RoRo) port, you do not need to submit a departure message, but must make sure adequate evidence of export is retained as specified in section 13.10 of Public Notice 197.

These are the relevant EMCS status depending on the progression of the movement:

EMCS status Description
‘Accepted’ The customs export declaration has been accepted
‘Rejected for export’ The ARC does not match the customs export declaration on CHIEF
‘Exporting’ The ARC matches the customs export declaration on CHIEF and the goods have been cleared by customs
‘Delivered’ The goods have departed Great Britain

Where excise warehouses are also approved for local clearance procedures or Customs Supervised Exports they can continue to benefit from export simplifications and not record the movement on EMCS. This is on the condition that the excise movement guarantee reference is included on the export declaration.

If you’re a registered excise business in Great Britain or use authorised destinations in Great Britain

From 1 January 2021, the following registered excise businesses in Great Britain and authorised destinations will no longer be authorised to receive or dispatch excise goods:

  • registered consignee – including movements for direct delivery
  • temporary registered consignee
  • unknown destination for energy products
  • tax representative – for excise duty on distance sales from the EU
  • registered commercial importer
  • unregistered commercial importer

Movements to exempt consignees in member states will also no longer be able to take place on EMCS.

These types of authorisations will still be required for businesses registered in Northern Ireland.

Published 10 October 2019
Last updated 30 June 2021 + show all updates
  1. Information about what evidence to retain when exporting excise goods using the Customs Supervised Export (CSE) simplification through a roll on roll off (RoRo) port has been added.

  2. A link to further guidance about submitting departure messages when exporting excise goods has been added.

  3. First published.