Soft Drinks Dearer, Tobacco Prices Unchanged
THE HAGUE, 18/09/13 - The cabinet has partly reversed the planned excise duty increases on tobacco and alcohol. Soft drinks will however be more expensive.
The 9 percent increase in 2014 on tobacco called for in the coalition agreement has been cancelled. The 14 percent hike in excise duty on beer and wine will be halved to 7 percent.
The consumer tax on non-alcoholic drinks such soft drinks will be increased by "several cents per bottle", which was not called for in the coalition agreement last year. The duty is currently 5.5 percent per litre.
Petrol station operators and sellers of tobacco have complained heavily in the past months about the plans for excise duty hikes. They claimed consumers would fill up their tanks and buy tobacco across the border in Germany with the result that tax revenues would fall. The cabinet has also admitted this earlier.
The coalition government appears to have been influenced by Party for Freedom (PVV) leader Geert Wilders. He proposed this week that excise duty in the Netherlands should legally be held at 1 percent lower than in neighbouring countries.
In 1972, excise duty was applied to alcohol-free drinks such as soft drinks, lemonade syrup, fruit juice and mineral water. Under EU regulations, the tax was to be stopped in 1993, but the Netherlands was permitted to continue with the tax by calling it a 'users tax', suggesting an environmental measure.
The users tax was to be eliminated from the beginning of 2013 but was continued because of the ongoing economic crisis. Instead it is being increased next year, the first time since 2002.