Beer tax is an excise tax levied on beer and beer-mixed drinks. It is unique among excise taxes regulated by federal law: The customs administration, i.e. a federal administration, levies the beer tax, while the revenue is due to the federal states.
The tax arises as soon as the beer is taken from a so-called tax warehouse. A tax warehouse is a place approved by the main customs office where products may be manufactured, processed, stored, received or dispatched. In addition, the tax arises, among other things, when you import beer from a third country.
Amount of beer tax
The amount of beer tax is generally based on the original wort content of the beer. This is measured in degrees Plato. In the case of beer mixtures or flavoured beer, the original wort content of the beer used is the basis for calculating the beer tax. The degree Plato of the finished beverage is calculated from this according to the mixing ratio of the beer content with other components.
The original wort content refers to the proportion of substances dissolved from the malt in the still unfermented wort. These are mainly the malt sugar, but also protein, vitamins, minerals and aromatic substances. During fermentation, with the help of yeast, about one third alcohol, one third carbon dioxide and one third residual extract are produced.
The higher the original wort content, the stronger the beer produced. Most beers in Germany are full beers with an original wort of between 11 and 16 degrees Plato. The alcohol content is between 4.5 and 5.5 percent by volume.
The standard tax rate is EUR 0.787 per hectolitre (hl), i.e. per 100 litres, per degree Plato. The alcohol content is irrelevant.
If you produce a hectolitre of full beer - for example Pils, Kölsch or Alt - with an original wort content of 12 degrees Plato, EUR 9.44 beer tax is due.
12 x EUR 0.787 = EUR 9.44. Converted to a 0.2-liter glass of beer, this is EUR 0.019 beer tax.
Mixed beer drinks
If you produce beer mixtures or flavored beer, the original wort content of the beer used is also the basis for calculating the beer tax. According to the mixing ratio of the beer content with other ingredients, you can calculate the degree Plato of the finished beverage from this.
The degree Plato of a beer mixture is therefore calculated from the degree Plato of the beer times the hectolitre of beer divided by the hectolitre of the beer mixture.
You can find calculation examples for the beer tax on the website of the customs administration.
Exceptions and reduced tax rates
- Non-alcoholic beer: alcohol content below 0.5% by volume - not subject to beer tax.
- Home brewers: Beer that is distributed free of charge to employees by licensed brewers within the company as home brew is exempt from tax.
- Home and hobby brewers: Beer produced by home and hobby brewers is tax-free up to a quantity of 200 litres per calendar year. The start of production and the place of production must be notified in advance to the competent main customs office. If the aforementioned quantity is exceeded, a tax declaration must be submitted in accordance with the official form and the beer tax must be paid. The reduced tax rate of EUR 0.4407 per hectolitre and degree Plato applies to the taxable quantities.
- Reduced rates: Smaller, legally and economically independent breweries may benefit from reduced beer tax rates for brewed beer if the total annual production is less than 200,000 hectolitres. Depending on the annual production, the standard tax rate can be reduced by up to 44 percent on the basis of a volume scale. The basis for this is the so-called graduated tax rates.
If the reduced graduated tax rates are applied, the standard tax rate is reduced evenly in 1,000 hectolitre increments to
- to 84 percent for an annual production of 40,000 hectoliters,
- to 78.4 percent for an annual production of 20,000 hectoliters,
- to 67.2% for an annual production of 10,000 hectolitres and
- 56 percent for annual production of 5,000 hectoliters.
However, the reduced rates do not apply to mixed beer beverages and flavored beers because they are not produced by the brewing process. This also applies to beer supplied to the tax territory by a foreign independent brewery with a total annual production of less than 200,000 hectolitres. The submission of an official certificate on the previous year's production of the foreign brewery is required.
Calculation beer tax reduced rates
The customs administration uses its own data processing procedure to calculate the beer tax.
On the basis of the data submitted, this program calculates both the amount of beer tax to be paid each month and the untaxed outgoings to EU member states and third countries.
With the help of the data collection, you will receive a tax assessment.