Wine Taxes in Europe

August 1, 2019

Thomas Jefferson once said, “I think it is a great error to consider a heavy tax on wines as a tax on luxury. On the contrary, it is a tax on the health of our citizens.” About half of the European countries covered in today’s map seem to agree with his statement and do not levy an excise tax on wine.

French wine tax, Taxes on Wine in France, Wine taxes in Europe

While 13 countries do levy an excise tax on wine, they do so at very different rates. You’ll find the highest wine tax in Ireland, at €3.19 per standard size wine bottle (0.75 liters or 0.20 gallons). Finland and the United Kingdom are next, at €2.98 and €2.43, respectively.

Of the countries levying a wine tax, by far the lowest rate can be found in a country well-known for its wine: France levies a tax of only €0.03 per bottle. Malta (€0.15) and Poland (€0.28) tax wine at the second and third lowest rates.

All European countries also levy a value-added tax (VAT) on wine. The excise amounts shown in the map above relate only to excise taxes and do not include the VAT, which is charged on the sales value of the wine bottle.

Note: This is part of a map series in which we examine excise taxes in Europe.

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A Value-Added Tax (VAT) is a consumption tax assessed on the value added in each production stage of a good or service. Every business along the value chain receives a tax credit for the VAT already paid. The end consumer does not, making it a tax on final consumption.

An excise tax is a tax imposed on a specific good or activity. Excise taxes are commonly levied on cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, soda, gasoline, insurance premiums, amusement activities, and betting, and make up a relatively small and volatile portion of state and local tax collections.