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HMRC internal manual

Holding and Movements Assurance Guidance

Excise Movement and Control System: introduction

The Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) is designed to control the movement of excise duty-suspended goods within the European Union (EU) and has been introduced in three stages from 1 April 2010. It facilitates legitimate trade throughout the EU by replacing paper-based systems (in use since 1993) with an electronic system. It also offers excise businesses the ability to communicate with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and other Member State (MS) administrations electronically. The precise specification and implementation of EMCS is governed by EU law.

EMCS improves the control of duty-suspended movements by validating data and providing real time notification of dispatch and receipt of goods within the EU. In future it is envisaged that it will also perform risk based assessments of the movement to support enforcement and compliance efforts.

Each MS has developed their own national EMCS application (to the EU agreed specification) and these systems are linked together through a central domain, maintained by the European Commission. If the system is unavailable for any reason then there is provision for a paper based fallback system which enables businesses to continue trading until such time as the system is restored.

The various functions of EMCS have been implemented in different stages, known as:

  • FS0 - From 1 April 2010 all MS delivered the FS0 functionality, enabling the electronic receipt of movements sent via EMCS from another MS.
  • FS1 - From 1 January 2011 all MS were able to generate movements to another MS using EMCS. Each MS had the discretion to implement FS1 functionality on 1 April 2010, or introduce it between then and January 2011. The UK introduced it on 1 January 2011 (see HMAG60320 for detail).
  • FS2 - From 1 January 2012, all MS delivered the FS2 functionality providing additional message facilities between traders and administrations, including alert and rejection messages. Additionally it provided consignors with the ability to split consignments of energy products into 2 or more consignments for delivery to different destinations (see HMAG60330 for detail).
  • FS2.1 - From 15 October 2012 EMCS users were be able to send new messages about inconsistencies with deliveries (for example shortages) and provide additional information to the MS administration with regards to events in transit. Additionally the transport mode restrictions on splitting movements of energy products have been removed; and registered consignors are able to cancel eADs (seeHMAG60340) for detail).

Each MS may allow simplified procedures for duty-suspended movements which take place solely on their territory. HMRC decided to extend EMCS to include intra-UK duty-suspended movements (excluding movements of energy products), to enable businesses to benefit from the savings afforded by it. However, businesses have the flexibility, if they so wish, to continue to use existing manual systems for certain duty-suspended movements which take place solely within the UK under simplified procedures (see HMAG60400 and Part 9 of the Excise Goods (Holding Movement and Duty Point) Regulations (HMDP) 2010)).

Intra-UK movements of energy products in duty suspension are not subject to EMCS procedures and will continue to move under a W8 (or commercial equivalent).