Overview of the Law on Amendments to the Law on Excise in Serbia

Law on Excise: taxation on energy products, tobacco and alcohol

The Law on Amendments to the Law on Excise (“the Law“) was officially published in the Republic of Serbia’s Official Gazette under number 75/2023 on September 6, 2023. It took effect on September 14, 2023, and its provisions have been applied from October 1, 2023. This legal update is primarily driven by the necessity to further align Serbia’s excise policy with European Union (EU) standards concerning excise taxation on energy products, tobacco, and alcoholic beverages. It encompasses both the scope of excise taxation and ensuring that Serbia meets the minimum excise taxation levels stipulated by EU regulations.

The Law introduces the following:

E-excise System: One of the significant changes introduced by the Law is the establishment of the e-excise system, a centralized information platform managed by the Serbian Ministry of Finance. This system retrieves data from various relevant authorities’ registers and stores information related to excise products, excise taxpayers, and trade actors. It facilitates electronic applications for control excise stamp issuance, excise warehouse permits, and their renewal, as well as streamlining communication among users concerning excise products and data management. The users of the e-excise system include state authorities, organizations, legal entities, and taxpayers of corporate profit tax and tax on income from independent activities. The system’s mandatory use started on October 1, 2024.

The Serbian Ministry of Finance will determine the conditions, registration procedures, and other relevant aspects related to the e-excise system via a by-law within nine months from the Law’s effective date.

Control Excise Stamps with QR Code: The Law introduces control excise stamps with QR codes within the e-excise system. It mandates that excise payers for cigarettes and non-combustible tobacco scan the QR code on the control excise stamp during manufacturing, import, or customs clearance. Subsequently, they are required to enter additional information into the e-excise system, including product details, manufacturing location, date and time of production, product line information, market details, and product brand specifics. Participants in the trade must scan the QR code on control excise stamps at each point of product receipt and submit the data through the e-excise system during transfers and product movements within their facilities.

The obligation to label products with control excise stamps containing QR codes comes into effect on January 1, 2025, along with the requirement for excise taxpayers and other trade participants to scan the QR code as per the Law’s provisions.

New Excise Products: The Law introduces two new excise products: nicotine pouches and natural gas for final consumption. Nicotine pouches are single-use products containing nicotine and other ingredients intended for oral use, complying with Serbian market norms. Excise for nicotine pouches is levied based on the net weight of nicotine pouches at a rate of 4,500.00 RSD/kg, effective from January 1, 2024.

Regarding natural gas for final consumption, the Law establishes excise rates of 1,097.20 RSD/MWh for motor vehicles and 63.30 RSD/MWh for heating. The Law defines the terms “final consumption” and “end user.” Entities defined under energy-related regulations as suppliers, public suppliers of natural gas, natural gas producers, and importers of compressed natural gas are considered taxpayers of natural gas excise. Exceptions for not paying the excise on natural gas for final consumption are also outlined. The obligation for this excise commences on January 1, 2025.

Register of Importers of Alcoholic Beverages and Coffee: The Law imposes an obligation on importers of coffee and alcoholic beverages to register with the Customs Administration before releasing their goods into free circulation. A by-law governing this register will be issued within nine months from the Law’s effective date. This register complements the existing Register of Producers of Coffee and Alcoholic Beverages established under the Law on Excise.

Increased Excise: The Law raises the excise amounts for various products, including oil derivatives, biofuels, bio liquids, low-alcohol beverages, beer, coffee, and other related products.

These changes will have a substantial impact on various economic sectors, and it is crucial for relevant entities to familiarize themselves with the updated regulations, for any further information, feel free to contact office@vuliclaw.com