Ireland’s high pint and liquor tax rate revealed


Irish drinkers pay the highest amount of tax per pint out of 25 EU countries and also the UK, according to a new report.

A report by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI), “Tax on Drinks: What Irish v EU and UK Consumers Pay”, written by Anthony Foley, an economist at Dublin City University, shows that Irish people pay more tax on a pint than 25 EU Member States and the UK.

The report, which was launched on Thursday, compares Ireland’s excise rates to those of the UK and 27 of their EU counterparts.

Ireland continues to have the second highest overall excise tax on drinks in the EU and the UK, highest excise tax on wine, second on beer and third on spirits.

Despite Ireland’s fame for producing some of the world’s most popular drinks, the Irish government levies a tax bill of almost €12 on a bottle of Irish whiskey purchased off-license produced at an Irish distillery.

The tax on the same bottle in Spain is only €2.69.

Excise duty per half glass of spirits ranges from €0.69 in Finland and Sweden to €0.08 in Bulgaria, with 15 countries imposing an excise duty of less than €0.20. In Ireland, the level is €0.60. A tax of 0.54 euro cents is applied to a pint of Irish stout served in a pub, restaurant or hotel.

The Irish level of excise duty per pint of beer is €0.55, compared to 21 EU countries which have a beer excise duty per pint of less than €0.20. In Germany, it is only 0.05 euro cents.

In France, a country also famous for its beverage industries, excise duty rates on wine are much lower. The tax on a glass of wine in Ireland is €0.80 while in France it is €0.01.

Commenting on the report’s findings, a DIGI spokesperson said Ireland’s high excise rates represent another high trade cost to the hospitality industry and Irish consumers at a very difficult time.

The group is calling on the government to cut the excise tax rate by 7.5% in the 2023 budget. Irish excise duty on drinks to much lower EU levels in the 2023 and 2024 budgets.

DIGI claims that Ireland’s high excise tax on drinks, combined with soaring energy costs, rising interest rates, high commercial rents, VAT – which is 23% and payable on top of excise tax – and insurance, puts the industry under additional and severe pressure and only compounds the challenges.

Likewise, as consumers find it increasingly difficult to cope with the effects of the cost of living crisis, our high excise rates are another tax imposed on them.

Kathryn D’Arcy, President of DIGI and Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs at Irish Distillers, said: “The high level of excise duty levied on spirits, wine and spirits is of concern to consumers and hospitality businesses as they face rising costs. life crisis. As beverage producers’ production costs rise and consumers’ disposable income also declines, we will see a decline in consumer demand, which will pose another challenge to the long-term sustainability of the hospitality sector.

“Ireland has the second highest overall excise duty rate in the EU27 and the UK, just behind Finland. Such high tax rates diminish the competitiveness of the Irish market when looking to attract tourists to Ireland and impose an excessive cost on hotel businesses and consumers.

“Irish hospitality businesses have only begun to recover from the closures necessitated by the Covid pandemic and are now facing a crippling cost of living and cost of doing business crisis. The challenges the sector is currently facing are many and we must seek to provide support, especially in relation to business costs. The government must ensure that our tax policies adequately take this into account and ensure the long-term viability of the sector.

“We are calling on the government to reduce the excise rate by 15% over a two-year period – 7.5% in 2023 and 7.5% in 2024 – to help the hospitality sector reduce costs and alleviate the cost of life. for consumers. As energy and other input costs rise, we need to offset these costs through reduced taxes and tariffs such as excise duties that could be implemented overnight. »

Commenting on DIGI’s report, Economist and Associate Professor Emeritus, DCU Anthony Foley noted: “The data once again clearly demonstrates the very high levels of alcohol excise duty in Ireland compared to our colleagues in the EU, which of course places a relatively heavy burden on the Irish. beverage industry and consumers compared to other EU members.

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