Excise duty

Excise duty is a type of tax imposed on specific goods and services, such as alcohol, tobacco, and fuel, typically to raise revenue and discourage the consumption of harmful products.
Updated: Jun 13, 2024

3 key takeaways:

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  • Excise duty is a tax levied on the sale or production of specific goods, including alcohol, tobacco, and fuel.
  • It is used to generate government revenue and to discourage the consumption of products that can be harmful to health or the environment.
  • Excise duties can vary significantly between countries and are often included in the retail price of the goods.

What is excise duty?

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Excise duty is an indirect tax imposed on the manufacture, sale, or use of specific goods and services. Unlike general sales tax or value-added tax (VAT), which apply to a broad range of products, excise duties target particular items that are considered harmful to health or the environment, or are luxuries. Common goods subject to excise duties include alcohol, tobacco, fuel, and luxury vehicles.

Excise duties are often included in the retail price of the product, meaning consumers may not always be aware of the exact tax amount. These taxes are typically levied at the point of production or importation and are passed on to the consumer through higher prices.

How does excise duty work?

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The process of imposing and collecting excise duty involves several steps:

  1. Levying the Tax: Governments set specific rates for excise duties on various goods. These rates can be based on quantity (e.g., per liter of alcohol) or value (e.g., a percentage of the retail price).
  2. Collection at Source: Excise duties are collected from producers or importers of the goods. For domestically produced items, the duty is paid by the manufacturer. For imported goods, it is collected at the point of entry.
  3. Incorporation into Retail Price: The excise duty is added to the cost of the goods and is typically included in the final retail price paid by consumers.
  4. Revenue Generation and Regulation: The government uses the revenue generated from excise duties to fund public services and infrastructure. Additionally, excise duties can serve as a regulatory tool to reduce the consumption of harmful products by making them more expensive.

Key features of excise duty:

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Excise duties have several important characteristics and benefits:

  • Targeted Taxation: Excise duties focus on specific goods, allowing governments to target products that are considered harmful or luxurious. This targeted approach can be more efficient than broader taxes.
  • Revenue Generation: Excise duties are a significant source of government revenue, contributing to the funding of public services, healthcare, and infrastructure projects.
  • Behavioral Impact: By increasing the cost of certain goods, excise duties can discourage consumption and reduce negative externalities such as health issues from smoking and drinking, or environmental pollution from fossil fuels.
  • Varied Rates: Excise duty rates can vary widely between countries and even within regions of a country, reflecting different policy priorities and economic conditions.
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  • Value-added tax (VAT): Understanding the broader tax on goods and services that applies at each stage of production and distribution.
  • Sin tax: Exploring taxes specifically designed to reduce the consumption of products considered harmful, such as alcohol and tobacco.
  • Environmental tax: Insights into taxes aimed at reducing environmental impact, such as carbon taxes and fuel duties.

Exploring these related topics will provide a comprehensive understanding of excise duty, its role in taxation policy, and its impact on consumption and government revenue.

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AI Financial Assistant
Arti is a specialized AI Financial Assistant at Invezz, created to support the editorial team. He leverages both AI and the Invezz.com knowledge base, understands over 100,000... read more.