Hi, we are a newly created scotch whiskey exporter targeting various countries, such as Brasil….what forms do I need and any certifications do I need to hold? I am assuming the process will be easier for shipments to the EU? Orders will have been placed, paid for, monies exchanged so theoretically doesnt the shipment become the responsibility of the buyer? Please help.
The responsibility for the shipment will depend on the Delivery Terms you agreed during the sale i.e. Ex-works would mean your responsibility stops at your warehouse gate whereas other delivery terms make you responsible for a portion or all of the journey to the buyer (potentially including any taxes and duties). So it’s important to agree that up-front.
With excisable goods like alcohol it’s also important to know whether you are selling them duty-paid or duty-suspended. Have you set yourself up with a Bonded Warehouse to avoid paying excise duty or are you planning not to actually handle the whisky?
If you selling to another business in the EU then it’s likely to be duty-suspended and each movement of goods needs to be declared to HMRC via the EMCS system – the European system for tracking excise goods under duty-suspension between bonded warehouses.
For shipments going to non-European destinations you may still need to declare the portion of the movement of goods to HMRC i.e. from your premises to the port or airport. The responsibility for excise duty isn’t released until the goods are received (in Europe) or the NES declaration is marked as having left the UK (non-EU).
We work with many whisky distilleries in Scotland so drop me a line if you would like further information about the document they raise to accompany the goods and the declarations to HMRC they make via our software to ensure their liability for excise duty is managed.
HMRC Notice 197 has lots of information:
With whisky you may also need to create Certificates of Age and Origin. Are you manufacturing/bottling your own whisky?
Hope this information is of use.
Hi Kathryn – from your question I’m not sure if you understand that whiskey falls under a specially controlled area known as Excise Goods. This means that as well as the normal customs rules applicable to the movement of goods internationally you have to follow the special excise rules. This is because alcohol (+ tobacco & fuels) incur an additional tax known as excise duty.
Ian is correct above: you need to know if you are selling "duty" paid or unpaid. Excise goods have two different types of duty that could be applicable – the standard customs duty and the additional nationally set excise duty. In the UK the excise duty is set on budget day by the exchequer and is a national rate so, when trading with alcohol even within the EU you could incur additional excise duty charges … and this is the duty Ian is referring to.
Excise goods do not freely move within the EU because of these national taxes (ie excise duty) which is why carriers or yourself must be registered with the EMCS system for movement. If you are not careful your shipments could incur excise duties in more than one country of transit, there will be transit bonds required (depending on the value of the shipment) and delays or seizures. And this is just in the EU.
When looking at overseas markets for alcohol you must ensure that firstly they permit the import of alcohol, next do they have any limits on foreign alcohol imports (ie quotas), then do you need special certificates and finally how much standard customs duty, excise duty and local taxes will be incurred.
You do not say how many bottles you expect to sell per shipment or whether you are hoping to deliver direct to your customers. Are your customers individuals, shops, distributors or other companies. All of this makes a different …
We can help clarify things – my contact details are email@example.com but I also refer you to the Scotch Whiskey Association and WSTA (The Wine & Spirit Trade Association)
If you are not the producer of the whiskey but are seeking to sell other companies’ branded products you also need to check whether or not that company already has a restrictive distribution agreement for your chosen destination country. If such an agreement is in place you may not be able to export their products to that country as it would violate the distribution agreement. In some countries the local Customs officials check against these agreements at the time of import and confiscate items that contravene the agreement.