FRANCE: WHICH EXCISE ACCOMPANYING DOCUMENT FOR WHICH FLOW AND WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF THE NEW FEB 13TH 2023 REGULATION?
Depending on the excise flow at stake – whether it is a B2B or B2C duty paid or duty suspended flow – French regulations expect different types of accompanying documents when it comes to alcoholic beverages.
This article is therefore an opportunity to examine which documents are necessary in France to carry out B2B and B2C intra-EU and domestic excise flows.
To this extent, these 4 flows will be examined respectively from a duty paid standpoint:
Accompanying documents for B2B intra EU and domestic duty paid flows to France.
This flow implies that two businesses located or not in different EU Member States trade alcoholic beverages.
Obligation to issue a SAD for intra-EU and domestic flows to France.
As long as the nature of the flow is duty paid (meaning that excise duties have already been paid in the Member State of dispatch) and as of today, it must be carried out under cover of a simplified accompanying document (called “SAD” or “DSA” in French). The SAD can be issued in paper format or dematerialized using EMCS, by the supplier, and must physically accompany the excise goods all along the shipment.
Made out of 3 sheets (one for the supplier, one for the consignee and one for the excise refund procedure in the Member State of dispatch), the SAD contains information related in particular to the supplier and the consignee of the goods, the description of the goods, the place of delivery, competent local authorities and the carrier.
Simplification measure: the commercial SAD (DSA-C) & CRD cap.
As a simplification measure, a commercial document can also qualify as a SAD (in such case, it is called a “DSA-C”, which stands for “commercial SAD”). It can be an invoice, a delivery note or a transport document for instance. This document should contain the same information as the ones reported on the SAD official form, including the identification number of each box.
Commercial SAD is authorized in France, but it is not recognized as a valid SAD in all EU Member States. Therefore, when the delivery place is not in France, it should be carefully checked whether the country of destination allows the use of commercial SAD (instead of a SAD established on the official form).
Specificity regarding French domestic sales of wines: it is possible to replace the issuance of a SAD or commercial SAD by using a national tax marking called “capsule représentative de droits” (CRD) in France. This mark is affixed to the cap of a bottle of wine and attests of the payment of excise duties in France for the said bottle of wine. Since 2019, the CRD on wines is no longer mandatory in France but continues to be used by the wine sector for B2B domestic flows.
HOT TOPIC: The new mandatory ESAD for intra-EU B2B flows (entering into force on 13 February 2023).
From 13 February 2023, electronic SAD - called “ESAD” - will replace the current SAD for intra-EU B2B flows. It will have to be issued by the consignor using EMCS, in order to cover intra-EU flows. To that extent, the consignor and the consignee will have to be certified by local customs authorities and obtain a dedicated excise number as, respectively, certified consignor in the country of dispatch and certified consignee in the country of delivery.
As such, an extension of EMCS is planned in all EU Member States to allow the issuance and clearance of ESAD. Like an electronic administrative document (EAD) for duty suspended excise flows, the ESAD will be issued by the supplier and cleared by the consignee.
Some EU Member States have already disclosed that their customs IT system will not be ready to support the issuance and clearance of ESAD by 13 February 2023. Therefore, depending on the country of dispatch/delivery of your alcoholic beverages, you might face operational blocking issues at that time.
Accompanying documents for B2C intra-EU and domestic duty paid flows to France.
The issuance of a SAD is not mandatory for B2C flows in France. However, French regulations require specific mentions to be put on a commercial documents when it comes to B2C intra-EU or domestic flows.
For domestic flows, the shipment should be accompanied by a commercial document (e.g. invoice, delivery note…) specifying:
The name and address of the consignor;
The name and address of the consignee;
The place of delivery of the products if different;
The nature and quantities of the products;
The mention in French “ventes à distance de produits soumis à accise” (meaning “distance sales of products subject to excise duty”).
For intra-EU flows, the shipment should be accompanied by a commercial document (e.g. invoice, delivery note…) specifying:
All the above listed mentions applicable to domestic flows;
The identification number, name and address of the consignor's fiscal representative (if any);
The competent office in the Member State of destination;
The reference number or any other element clearly identifying the guarantee provided by the consignor or his tax representative in the Member State of destination (if any).
It has to be noted that the new excise framework to be entered into force in February 13th 2023 has not impacted the regulation on accompanying documents for B2C duty paid flows.