Alcohol tax is an excise tax levied on alcohol and alcohol-containing goods. These include
- Ethyl alcohol,
- distillates and spirits, for example whiskey or gin,
- liqueurs or also
- goods containing alcohol, for example schnapps chocolates with a high alcohol content or rock candy in rum.
As a rule, alcohol may only be produced in Germany in distilleries that are sealed by customs (sealed distilleries). To determine the tax payable, the amount of alcohol produced is measured.
The tax arises as soon as the alcohol is released for free circulation. As a rule, this occurs after extraction by means of a so-called alcohol removal or - insofar as the alcohol is stored in a tax warehouse under tax suspension after extraction - by removal from the tax warehouse. An alcohol tax warehouse is a place approved by the main customs office where alcohol products may be produced, processed, stored, received or dispatched. In addition, the tax arises, among other things, when alcohol is imported into Germany from another country.
The amount of the tax is based on the amount of alcohol contained in the alcohol product. The standard tax rate is EUR 1,303.00 for 100 liters of pure alcohol.
In some cases, reduced tax rates are possible, for example in the case of so-called severance distilling or for small independent capping distilleries that produce no more than 400 liters of pure alcohol in a calendar year. Tax exemptions are possible, among other things, for commercial use in the production of medicines or foodstuffs with a low alcohol content, provided that the relevant legal requirements are met.