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HMRC internal manual

Cider Guidance

Cider production: dilution

Regulation 14A of the Cider and Perry Regulations 1989 provides that:

‘after the excise duty point no person may carry out any operation on or in relation to cider before it is sold by way of retail (or otherwise supplied for consumption) if that operation would, had it been carried out before the excise duty point, have resulted in a greater amount of duty being payable than was actually payable at the excise duty point.’

In this regulation ‘operation includes the mixing of cider and the additions of substances (including water) to cider.’

This regulation was introduced to prohibit the operation of ‘dilution’ and counteract tax avoidance and distortion of competition.

Dilution is the practice where cider is produced at the top end of a duty band, duty is paid on that volume but then the cider is diluted to decrease its strength but increase its volume. This effectively reduces the duty liability on the volume of finished product.