Belgium has introduced an excise duty on e-liquids that will come into force on 1st January 2024. This levy will target all nicotine-containing and nicotine-free e-liquids, irrespective of whether intended for use in e-cigarettes or as a refill.
The regulation will also extend its ambit to cover user-mixed products, sometimes referred to as “mix-your-own” or “shake-and-vape”.
This means that components of e-liquids, such as primary liquids – for example, propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerine (VG) – booster liquids, and flavours, whether concentrated or not, will be covered by this regulation when usable in e-cigarettes. However, e-cig legislation will not encompass flavours such as those available in grocery stores.
“The taxation of e-liquids for electronic cigarettes was a decision made during the 2022 budgetary conclave,” said the Ministry of Finance. At that time, the government decided to increase excise taxes on traditional tobacco and cigarettes and to introduce an excise on new types of products, such as electronic cigarettes, starting from 1st January 2024.
Health risks of new tobacco products
The excise duty rate will be delineated during government discussions, set against the backdrop of budget formulation. It will be levied on a per-ml basis, defining the taxable base. The ministry highlighted that many EU countries are already taxing e-liquids.
“The rate will be determined by taking into account the rates in other countries,” a spokesperson explained. For example, Germany introduced a tax of €0.16 per ml in 2022, which by 2026 will have risen to €0.32 per ml – doubling in four years.
In the case of Belgium, this rate will be lower than that of traditional cigarettes and tobacco.
“The tobacco market is evolving, and our legislation had not yet adapted to it,” the spokesperson continued. “We are now making a change.”
The ministry indicated that although new types of tobacco products may be less harmful than traditional cigarettes, they still pose health risks and can promote addiction. It added that the introduction of an excise duty will also allow for better market control.
It’s worth noting that only the excise duties for e-liquids will be collected using tax stamps. The prevailing VAT regulations will continue to apply to e-liquids.
For e-liquids already available for sale on 1st January 2024, a transitional period has been provisioned until the end of March 2024. From 1st April 2024, every e-liquid present in the Belgian market will have to bear a tax stamp.
The industry has known of this upcoming change since the 2022 budgetary conclave. The administration provided details on the practical modalities of the system.
– Sonia Romero ECigIntelligence contributing writer
Photo: Bibhash Banerjee