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What Are Excise And Custom Duties In The UK.

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

Excise and Customs duties are two types of taxes levied on goods when brought into the UK, these taxes are purposed to raise revenues for the government and protect local industries from foreign competition. In this blog post our team at Brunswick International will explain what the difference is in Excise and Customs, Excise duty is not the same as a Sales Tax or VAT (Value Added Tax) in several cases, such as

  • It is charged on a specific good rather than all goods and services.

  • It is often referred to as an ‘indirect tax’ because the consumer does not usually see the excise duty that they are paying.

  • The amount of excise duty payable on a product is often based on its weight or volume rather than its value.

  • The manufacturer or importer pays the excise duty of the product rather than the consumer.

VAT is a type of consumption tax placed on a product whenever the value is added either at a production stage or at the point of retail sale. Clear House Accountants provide comprehensive VAT services to cater to your every VAT need.


Excise duties are duties levied on certain goods entering the UK that are considered harmful to the public health and environment of the nation. The amount of Excise duties payable to HMRC is payable depending on volume and weight. Meanwhile customs duties are taxes levied by HMRC on foreign goods in order to protect the UK's domestic industries from unfair trade practices of other countries.

It is important to remember that excise and custom duties are separate from VAT, which is applied to all goods and services sold in the UK.

Excise duty rate vary depend on the product being brought into the UK our team at Brunswick International Freight will be able to explain to you what you need to pay depending on the goods being brought into the country. In most cases, both excise and custom duties are paid when the goods are brought into the UK from abroad. The team at Brunswick International will go through this with you to ensure that you have all the information you require to make a informed decision.

In the UK, the following forms of excise are levied on goods and services:

  • Alcohol duty

  • Air Passenger Duty

  • Aggregates Levy

  • Bingo Duty

  • Climate Change Levy

  • HGV Road User Levy

  • Hydrocarbon Oil Duty

  • Landfill tax

  • Machine Games Duty

  • Tobacco Duty

  • Vehicle Excise Duty

  • Betting and gaming duty

  • Fuel duty

  • Tobacco products duty.

These are usually indirect taxes as the consumer does not usually see the excise duty that is being paid. The amount of excise duty is payable on a product is often based on its weight volume rather than its value- though this will vary depending on the specific good being taxed. Excise duty is paid by the manufacture or importer of the product or importer.


The rate of both excise and customs duty can vary depending on the type of good that is being imported. For example, the rate of excise for tobacco is higher than the rate of custom duty on clothing.

In most cases both excise and customs duties are payable when the goods are brought from a foreign country. However, this varies depending on the product that is being brought into the country. It’s important to remember that both types of taxes are separate from Value Added Tax (VAT), a tax levied on all goods and services sold in the UK. VAT payable on a good or service depends on its value. For example, a dress that costs £100 will attract a VAT of £20. Our accounts team will explain be able to explain to you what you can expect to pay on your Excise and Duties so that there are no hidden surprises for you.


If you’re receiving commercial goods in the UK from other countries, you need to make sure that it is legally allowed in the UK and that you pay the proper tax and customs charges.

You’ll have to:

  • get an EORI number if you don’t already have one

  • classify your goods using the UK’s commodity codes

  • calculate how much duty and VAT you’ll need to paycheck if you need an import licence

  • You may also have to get your goods inspected on arrival in the UK.

When your goods arrive in the UK, the Brunswick International Freight will contact HMRC on your behalf to provide the basic information about the consignment.


Brunswick International Freight will not provide any services for the following items, furthermore Brunswick International Freight have the right not to continue business with you and your company, if the following items are imported by you.

  • Drugs

  • counterfeit goods

  • Rough diamonds

  • endangered animal products

  • Indecent and obscene materials.

  • Weapons and Self-Defense items such as pepper spray and CS gas.

  • Personal imports of meat and dairy products from most non-EU countries.

  • Food and plant products if they aren’t free from pests and diseases

  • Goods or items suspected of infringement, i.e. pirated copies of movies and music.

  • Firearms, explosives and ammunition, unless you have a special license to bring them to the UK.

The following tables will allow you to understand the different Excise goods that you can expect to pay:

​Tobacco Products



16.5% of the retail price plus £4.16 on a packet of 20


£2.59 on a 10g cigar

​Hand Rolling Tobacco

£5.24 on a 25g packet

Other smoking tobacco and chewing tobacco (eg pipe tobacco)

£2.85 on a 25g packet



Beer Duty Rate Per Litre for each % of Alcohol

More than 1.2%, up to 2.8%

8.42 pence

More than 2.8%, up to 7.5%

19.08 pence

More than 7.5%

24.77 pence

More than 1.2%, up to 2.8%

8.42 pence

For example, if you buy a pint of 8% strength lager beer, ultimately, the beer duty you will pay is 24.77 pence * 8.0 = 198.16 pence per liter.


Cider duty is paid on cider and perry, and it depends on its strength and whether it is still or sparkling.

Type of cider

Strength (ABV)

Rate per litre


More than 1.2%, up to 7.5%

40.38 pence


More than 7.5% but less than 8.5%

61.04 pence


More than 1.2%, up to 5.5%

​40.38 pence


More than 5.5% but less than 8.5%

279.46 pence


Spirit duty is £28.74 per litre of pure alcohol. For example, the spirit duty on a 1-litre bottle of 40% ABV vodka is 40% of £28.74, i.e. £11.50.


Payable wine duty depends on the strength of the wine, still or sparkling—also, wine duty with more than 22% ABV at the same rate as spirits.

​Type of Cider or Perry

​Strength (ABV)

Rate Per Liter


More than 1.2%, up to 4%

​88.93 pence


More than 4%, up to 5.5%

122.30 pence


More than 5.5%, up to 15%

288.65 pence


More than 15%, up to 22%

384.62 pence


More than 5.5% but less than 8.5%

279.92 pence


More than 8.5%, up to 15%

369.72 pence

The above tables will give you and your team the required information to make an informed decsion when seeking to import Excise goods into the UK. If you are looking to move Excise goods into the UK then Brunswick International Freight is the freight forwarding company you need at your side, based in the heart of Liverpool, with access to multi-modal transportation we can get your Excise goods in the UK in both a safe and timely manner.

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