Harmonised excises – New Excise Duties Act

Tax Alert, March 2013

Official gazette NN 22/13 has published The new Excise Duties Act was published in the official gazette “Narodne Novine”, No. 22/13. The Act came into force on 2 March 2013, with the exception of the Articles 1 to 35, Article 41, Articles 43 to 99, 101 to 114, 117 and 118 which should enter into force upon Croatia’s accession to European Union (EU).

The Excise Duties Act regulates the system of excise duties levied on alcohol, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, energy products and electricity (excise goods) produced in Croatia, supplied into Croatia from another Member State or imported into EU.

Compared to the previous Excise Duties Act (Official Gazette NN 83/09 and 111/12), the new Act introduces the following changes:

  • The difference between importation and acquisition of excise goods is established;
  • The institutes of registered consignor, registered consignee, temporary registered consignee and customs suspension procedure or arrangement are introduced;
  • Conditions of the movement of excise goods under duty suspension arrangements within Croatian territory and between Croatia and the Member States are listed;
  • Movement of the excise goods under the duty suspension arrangements can be made only under the cover of an electronic administrative document; with some named exceptions;
  • Backup procedure in the event of unavailability of Customs Administration’s computer system for consignor and consignee is published;
    Distance selling is introduced;
  • The list of documents that consignor needs to deliver when requesting a reimburse of excise duty paid is more detailed;
  • The number of persons liable to pay excise duties is increased;
  • Requirements set up for determining whether the excise good is intended for personal usage or for commercial purposes are expanded
    The minimal amounts of excise goods that are considered for personal usage are prescribed;
  • Conditions when the excise duty becomes chargeable are expanded;
  • Chargeability conditions and rate of the excise duty to be applied in the event of irregularities during the movement of the excise goods are prescribed;
  • Instructions about chargeability conditions in the event of the total destruction or irretrievable loss of the excise goods are simplified;
  • The articles concerning excise duty representative are deleted;
  • The list of offences is expanded and the amounts of fines are changed;
  • Provisions on excise duty payer, the time and place of chargeability of the excise duties on electricity, natural gas, coal, coke and lignite are added;
  • The excise duty on most categories of energy products and electricity is changed in order to further harmonize with Council Directive 2003/96/EC and new exemptions are introduced so the fiscal burden on the excise duty payer will not increase significantly;
  • There were no major changes concerning taxation of alcohol and alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.

Under the new Excise Duties Act , suppliers of electricity to final customers, and when importing or entering these products for own purposes, as well as producers of electricity using electricity for their own purposes, become excise taxpayers. This provision is adequately applied for natural gas, coal, coke, lignite. The mentioned represents a significant novelty when compared with the previous law.

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