KEYNOTES FOR THE DISTANCE SALES FRAMEWORK OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES IN GREECE.
Tax and Customs practitioners established in different EU member states are familiar with that fact that legislation produced by the commission in central level is usually implemented by EU member states in different time phases. Particularly when it comes to indirect taxes such as excise duties & vat, where national legislatures are involved and engaged, meeting time deadlines is often challenging for the local administrations.
In the case of distance sales of alcoholic beverages, many member states administrations had to dedicate additional time to consultations; adjustments of their national customs codes; and finally, issuance of the regulatory provisions and guidelines for the application of the distance sales of alcoholic beverages framework.
In Greece, the Independent Authority of Public Revenue and in particular the Directorate of customs procedures, published the decree (with protocol number A.1035) providing the terms, conditions and formalities applied for distance sales of alcoholic beverages for the Greek "landscape" only on March 8th of 2022.
The main purposes of the decree were to: determine the field of implementation; to define the roles of the engaged, trade, supply chain actors and authorities; and also to establish the practical procedures and supportive material for the delivery and receipt of alcoholic beverages when purchased by private individuals and delivered in free circulation for local consumption, between Member States and subject to local destination excise duties.
For efficient and effective application of the procedures, the persons that appear as actors and holders of the procedures are defined in the decree separately:
The Seller - The natural or legal person who (as result of sale towards a private individual established in another EU member state) delivers from one member state to another, alcoholic beverages which have obtained the free circulation and consumption status in the member state of delivery but are subject to excise duties at the member state of destination.
The Consignor - The seller, natural or legal person that delivers alcoholic beverages which have been taxed in the member state of delivery and are subject to excise duties at the member state of destination where the private individual purchaser of alcoholic beverages is established.
The Tax Representative - The natural or legal person established at the destination EU member state who has been appointed by the seller to act as the tax representative according to article 36 of n.2859/2000 of vat Greek law.
The Private individual - Any private individual who does not have independent economic activity and is not a registered consignee neither an Authorized warehouse-keeper of alcoholic beverages but acts and appears as the final consignee and recipient of the purchased alcoholic beverages.
The competent Authorities
The competent Authorities participating in the customs procedures are:
The Customs offices of control, set in the territorial jurisdiction where the alcoholic beverages are delivered and where excise declarations are also to be lodged.
The Competent Customs Prefectures established in the territorial jurisdiction of the Tax representative.
In the case where there is a delivery of taxed alcoholic beverages from Greece to private individual(s) established in another member state, the potential excise duty drawback claim is made at the customs office where the alcoholic beverages were originally declared to obtain the free circulation and consumption status in Greece.
How it works in practice
Provisions contained in articles 3-7 of the Decree, provide the implementation process regarding delivery of alcoholic beverage subject to excise duties for private individuals established in Greece.
The seller must appoint a Tax representative who has a special permit of annual validity from the customs prefecture established in his state or territory.
To have such permit issued by the competent Authority, the Tax representative has to fulfill certain obligations and submit relevant supportive material:
Copy of the identification card of the Tax representative in case of a natural person.
In case of a legal entity acting as Tax representative, then copy of the identification card of legal representative of legal entity is needed.
Tax clearance awareness statement issued by Independent Authority of public revenue for the Tax representative, providing that no tax arrears at date of application.
Certificate of legal representation provided by the general commercial registry.
Information statement, printed by TaxisNet portal, showing the profile of the Tax representative, in terms of date of initial business establishment and NACE codes of activity.
Good standing certificate and compliance record with Tax and customs Authorities in Greece.
Fiscal guarantee/bank guarantee of annual duration, covering the excise duties of the products delivered in the previous year. If such "history" does not exist, then the guarantee is established on the basis of the future annual awaited deliveries.
The application and supportive material provided by the Tax representative of the seller is reviewed by the Authorities and the special permit is issued within 60 days from original application date.
The special permit is reissued on an annual basis and the fiscal guarantee amount is adjusted according to excise duties applied and deliveries of alcoholic beverages made in the previous year.
As part of its general duties, the Tax representative is obliged to regularly inform the customs office of control of the awaited arrivals of alcoholic beverage consignments.
Select a warehouse
The warehouse installations where alcoholic beverages will be first received in Greece, before submission & payment of the excise declaration (and certainly before redelivery to private individuals) need to be declared. Furthermore, a catalog of product categories also needs to be submitted.
Alcoholic beverages delivered to Greece need to be accompanied by a delivery note issued by the seller containing the statement "Distance sales according to article 36 of the Directive 118/2008".
After the payment of excise duties and during redelivery to the private individual, the statement on distance sales according to article 36 of 118/2008 needs to be included in the relevant delivery note.
Notifications of consignment arrivals, (including type, description, quantities in taxed units, means and identity of transport) need to be sent to competent customs office by email, at least one day before actual arrival and receipt at warehouse installations.
The seller through his Tax representative has to lodge the excise declaration and pay the relevant duties of the consignment the latest one day after receipt of goods in the warehouse installations.
Book/record keeping is also needed from the Tax representative in terms of quantities received, declarations lodged and final recipients (purchasing private individuals).
Recovery of Greek duty on EU distance sales
The distance sales will be subject to local excise duty in the Member State of delivery. In this case, the consignor may apply for refund of the corresponding Greek excise duties (drawback process), provided that it is the same person who originally placed the alcoholic beverages in free circulation and consumption status in Greece.