TapBooze Lose

The news this morning is full of commentary on the probability that the European Court will declare that Excise Duty should be paid at source even for transactions across member country’s borders. This means that if I buy wine (for personal use) on the internet from a French dealer then I will pay French tax and duty, not British. Some of the implications of this, which also applies to tobacco, are being discussed e.g. the lower price paid by the purchaser, the impact on the local retailer, the death of the traditional Booze Cruise trips to Calais and also the impact on the Exchequer. Here are a few other effects that have not been mentioned.

  • Another subject for the spammers to get their hooks into.
  • Many people already buy from mail order dealers so unless they move sharply, the loss to their trade; one I know has only just moved its distribution from one location in the UK to another. I would imagine that specialist sales companies will be established, probably subsidiaries of the existing mail order retailers. I don’t think buying direct from the vineyard will be commonplace.
  • Another market for the scammers and dodgy web sites.
  • The extra workload on Customs and Excise and police checking that it is “for personal use”—even more of a problem since their income will have dried up.
  • The removal of the tax disincentive which has been used for many years to dissuade people from smoking and to a lesser extent drinking.
  • In theory the same ruling would apply to motor fuel but I can’t think of a practical way to arrange personal imports.
  • If the ruling comes into effect immediately, consider the rush for Christmas.
  • There is the possibility of theft en route. The transport is likely to be of lower security than bulk imports by dealers and, because it is the purchaser’s responsibility, will need to be insured by them.
  • The increased transport costs and impact; for example consider the export of Scotch to a low tax EU county only to be purchased by mail order to be sent to a Glasgow customer.

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