FRUIT WINES and mead are again exempt from excise tax. Slovak MPs voted to lift the duty in early February, only a month after it became effective. Their amendment reintroduced zero-rate excise tax on still, fermented drinks and mead, the SITA newswire reported.
Slovak fruit-wine producers had criticised the original legislation as discriminatory, anti-liberal and anti-European, and said it would bankrupt them.
“This legislative nonsense will bring not one additional cent into the state budget,” said Štefan Trnka, from the Vinárske Závody Krupina wine factory, as quoted by SITA, in reference to the original legislation. “On the contrary, it will harm the whole production chain from fruit producers via wine producers up to retail sales.”
He stated that the legislation was bankrupting his company and that it had already been forced to close down some units.
The original legislation increased the price of fruit wines, whose average wholesale price used to be about €0.58 per litre, by the excise tax of €1.35 per litre. Producers said that this made fruit wines unsalable and warned that it would mean the gradual winding down of fruit-wine production in Slovakia. They also expressed bewilderment at why conventional grape wine remained exempt from excise tax.
Slovaks normally drink about 25 million litres of fruit wine per year, which accounts for about one-fifth of total production of all still wines.
27. Feb 2012 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff