Exemptions from excise duty: Diplomatic missions, diplomats, consuls, international organisations and institutions of the European Union
- - 2/21/2021
In Finland, excise duty is levied on energy products, electricity, alcohol, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, soft drinks and beverage containers.
Basis of exemption from excise duty
According to the Excise Duty Act (182/2010), products supplied in the context of diplomatic and consular relations are exempt from excise duty. Products supplied to an international organisation, as provided in the international treaty establishing the organisation or in its headquarter agreement, are also exempt from excise duty.
Exemption from excise duty also applies to products supplied for official use to an institution of the European Union located in Finland (including fuel used in official cars, electricity used in the institution’s premises, etc.). The total taxable purchase price of these products has to be at least 80 euros. Products supplied to an institution of the European Union located in another Member State are also exempt from excise duty under the same conditions as in Finland.
Specific instructions regarding alcohol products
The determining factor for exemption from excise duty is the intended use of the alcohol products.
1. Official use
Diplomatic and other comparable missions, international organisations and institutions of the European Union are entitled to acquire alcohol products exempt from excise duty for official use only. Official use means that alcohol is served by a mission, organisation or institution at their premises or at other specified premises reserved for their use, free of charge, to a specified group of guests invited by an ambassador or another member of the diplomatic staff or other similar person.
If the event is arranged at a restaurant, the use will not be considered official even if the other above requirements are met.
The use is not official, either, if the event where alcohol is served is not arranged by the above parties entitled to exemption from excise duty, particularly if the products presented are on sale (e.g. a wine fair or other sales promotion event). Excise duty on alcohol, alcoholic beverages and beverage containers has to be paid for the alcohol served at these events, and a temporary wholesale licence granted by the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) is required.
Excise products can be served without paying the excise duty only if all the following conditions are met:
- alcohol is served free of charge
- the event is arranged by a diplomatic mission, an international organisation or by an institution of the European Union
- serving takes place at the premises of the above party or at other specified premises reserved for its use
- the guests have been invited by an ambassador or another member of the diplomatic staff, or by a representative of an international organisation or of an institution of the European Union
- the event is intended for a specified group of invited guests
2. Personal use
Diplomatic agents and career consuls posted in Finland are entitled to acquire alcohol products exempt from excise duty for personal use by themselves or their family members living in the same household.
Alcohol products which missions, international organisations, institutions of the European Union and persons entitled to purchases exempt from excise duty give as normal gifts are exempt from excise duty.
Acquisition of products exempt from excise duty
Acquisitions in Finland
- Acquisitions with the so-called “French paper” or Tax Administrations form 1330
- Diplomatic and other comparable missions, international organisations
The buyer has to present to the seller a certificate confirmed by the Protocol Services of the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs showing that the buyer is entitled to purchases exempt from excise duty (the so-called “French paper”).
Institutions of the European Union located in Finland and deliveries to institutions located in another EU Member State
If the products are supplied to an institution of the European Union, the institution in question has to confirm its right to acquire the products free from excise duty using Tax Administrations form 1330. The form is to be provided to the seller.
All excise products, except for electricity, can be acquired exempt from excise duty with the “French paper” or Tax Administrations form 1330. A party entitled to use exempt from excise duty can acquire such products exempt from excise duty from a customs warehouse, a free warehouse or an excise warehouse.
Also, when excise products are sold from a customs warehouse or a free warehouse as third country goods, exemption from excise duty can be granted with the “French paper” or Tax Administrations form 1330.
For sales of alcohol from a tax warehouse, it is also required that the warehouse keeper has a wholesale licence. The holder of a wholesale licence has the right to sell alcohol exempt from excise duty in the context of diplomatic and consular relations or to an international organisation.
In the case of acquisitions of energy products, e.g. fuel, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs or the relevant institution of the European Union sends the “French paper” or, respectively, Tax Administrations form 1330 to Tax Administrations Excise Taxation after approving it.
Exemption from excise duty through a refund procedure
As for acquisitions of excise products for which excise duty has been paid, exemption from excise duty can be implemented by refunding the paid excise duty on application. Refund can be applied for from Tax Administrations Excise Taxation. Copies of the invoices have to be enclosed to the free-form refund application.
Exemption from excise duty on electricity can only be implemented through a refund procedure. Parties entitled to acquisition of electricity exempt from excise duty can apply for a refund of the paid excise duty on electricity from Tax Administrations Excise Taxation. A copy of the electricity bill has to be enclosed to the free-form refund application.
Acquisitions from EU Member States
When purchasing from a retail shop (e.g. a wholesale wine shop) in another Member State excise goods for which excise duty has already been paid in the country of departure, the buyer has to complete a “VAT and/or Excise Duty Exemption Certificate” (form No. 9535e), and have it certified by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The form functions as a certificate of exemption from VAT and excise duty when products are imported to Finland. The certificate is completed in duplicate; one copy is retained by the seller and the other is returned to the buyer together with the products supplied.
If the products have been acquired from another Member State exempt from excise duty (e.g. from a tax warehouse), they can be transported to Finland under a duty suspension arrangement within the EU. In such case, a copy of the exemption certificate (VAT and/or Excise Duty Exemption Certificate form) and a commercial document (e.g. an invoice) showing the quality and amount of the received products has to be submitted to the EMCS Group of Tax Administration within 30 days after receipt of the products. The administrative reference code (ARC) of the e-AD (electronic administrative document) also has to be submitted to Tax Administration. The code can be found in the e-AD printout accompanying the transport or in another commercial document.
The Tax Administrations form is only used for alcohol, tobacco products or energy products. Other excise products can be imported to Finland from other EU Member States without the exemption certificate. In order to acquire such products, the buyer should on request be able to present to Tax Administration either the “French paper”, granted by the Protocol Services of the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, or Customs form 1330, certified by an institution of the European Union.
Imports from outside the EU
When excise products are ordered from outside the fiscal territory of the European Union or from third countries, the products have to be declared at the place of import. The “French paper” granted by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, or Tax Administrations form 1330 certified by the relevant institution of the European Union, is to be presented in connection with the customs clearance.