Question to the Minister for Finance:
To ask if he will consider implementing a tax relief regime for micro cider producers similar to the reliefs available for microbreweries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer.
For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 14th February, 2013.
Ref No: 7772/13
Minister for Finance ( Mr Noonan):
Article 4 of Directive 92/83/EEC allows for a lower rate to be applied to beer produced by small breweries. This provision is however specific to beer, and there is no corresponding provision to cover other fermented beverages, including cider. Under EU law (Art 13(2) of Council Directive 92/83/EEC) we are obliged to apply the same rate of excise duty to all other fermented beverages, which include cider. Ireland has however used the option under paragraph (3) of that article, to apply two lower rates to cider below 8.5% vol and 6% vol.
A reduced rate of tax for low strength cider was also introduced, with effect from 15 October 2008, for cider of a strength not exceeding 2.8% alcohol by volume, as provided for under Article 5 of the Directive. Under the current EU legislative framework, a reduced rate could not be introduced for cider produced by small operators.
While there is an exemption for small scale cider producers in the UK of up to 7000 hectolitres, I understand that this exemption pre-dates the Directive.
A cider manufacturer’s licence is also required for the production of cider on a commercial basis under the Finance (1909-1910) Act 1910.