The Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) is a computer system which captures and processes information in respect of movements of excise goods in duty suspension within the European Union (EU). The legal framework for EMCS is provided by European Council Directive 2008/118/EEC.
Background to EMCS
Getting started with EMCS
Managing your EMCS
Different trading roles
EMCS and exporting to non-EU countries
Additional EMCS guidance
Since 1 January 2011, UK traders have been required to use EMCS when receiving and dispatching duty suspended excise goods that are moving within the EU. EMCS must also be used for intra-UK duty suspended movements except for those involving energy products or where the movement is one that meets the criteria for simplified procedures to be used instead. Further information about the simplified procedures and other duty suspended movements not required to go on EMCS can be found in Notice 197 on the HMRC website.
EMCS captures and processes information about the duty suspended movement online. It provides validation of data and allows real time notification of the dispatch and receipt of duty suspended excise goods. Authorised warehousekeepers, Registered Consignors, Registered Consignees and Temporary Registered Consignees can exchange messages online containing specific consignment and movement information with their trading counterparts throughout the EU.
EMCS links over 150,000 traders in the different national administrations across the EU. Each Member State has developed their own national EMCS application and these systems are linked to all other Member States through a central domain, maintained by the European Commission.
EMCS was introduced in the following stages:
Additional information about the functional specification and phased implementation of EMCS can be found on the European Commission website by clicking on the link below:
The European Commission developed the EMCS Business Prototype (BPR). This is a useful tool that illustrates how EMCS operates and is available from the Commission website which you can access using the link below.
You can also see an overview of the standard process which covers most EMCS movements using the link below.
EMCS allows for the secure online transmission of data between all parties and immediate validation of the electronic Administrative Document (eAD). This makes sure that before duty suspended excise goods are dispatched the consignee is approved to receive the goods. On screen validation and 'core checks' help minimise the risk of incorrect data being placed on the system. EMCS also reduces the scope for excise fraud as it allows both Member States and traders to monitor movements online in real time.
There are a number of options available to you. You can:
A number of commercial software suppliers have tested their products with HMRC and, when they have tested successfully, HMRC lists them for your information on its website. If you would like to see the latest list of these products, please follow the link below.
If you would like further information about developing your own in-house system please contact the Software Developer Support Team (SDST). Details of how to contact SDST can be found by using the following link.
Before you can use EMCS you will first have to register and enrol for HMRC Online Services. You will also need a System for the Exchange of Excise Data (SEED) registration which provides you with an Excise ID number (also referred to as the 'Excise Registration Number'). Your Excise ID number can be found on the letter/certificate that approves you to dispatch and/or receive excise goods under suspension arrangements. You will then be able to add EMCS to the list of HMRC Online Services you can access.
Please note: most UK businesses trading in duty suspended excise goods after 1 January 2011 must have a valid Excise ID Number and must be registered and enrolled for EMCS. However, EMCS does not need to be used for intra-UK movements of energy products or intra-UK movements meeting the criteria for simplified procedures.
If you don't dispatch or receive excise goods under duty suspension, or EMCS does not need to be used for the type of movements you make, you do not need to register and enrol for EMCS.
To find out more information about SEED, and the Excise ID number, please select the link below.
If EMCS is required for the duty suspended movements you make, once you have your Excise ID number, the action you will need to take to register and enrol for EMCS will depend on whether you are a new or existing user of HMRC Online Services.
You must register for HMRC Online Services through the HMRC website which you can access at the link below.
Then follow the instructions below:
Log on to HMRC Online Services using the following link and then follow the actions set out below:
Additional information about registering and enrolling for HMRC Online Services is available at the following link:
The process for enrolling for EMCS is different to that for Alcohol and Tobacco Warehousing Declarations (ATWD).
In the UK there are a range of approvals for persons that can hold, dispatch and receive duty suspended goods such as authorised warehousekeepers, Registered Consignors, Registered Consignees and Temporary Registered Consignees. The correct ERN to use for each role is shown below.
To register and enrol for EMCS, warehousekeepers must use the warehousekeeper excise ID. This is the 13 alpha-numeric character reference that normally starts with 'GBWK' and can be found on your 'approval' letter. You should not use the warehouse excise ID for enrolment for EMCS as this relates to a 'physical premises' not the 'authorised person'.
The warehousekeeper excise ID should be used in EMCS for the consignor/consignee reference.
The warehouse excise ID should be used in EMCS for the place of dispatch/place of delivery.
Registered Consignors, Registered Consignees and Temporary Registered Consignees have a single 13 alpha numeric Excise Registration Identification which they must use to register and enrol for EMCS.
If you have registered using your warehouse excise ID instead of warehousekeeper excise ID you will need to de-enrol for the service.
To de-enrol for EMCS log on to HMRC Online Services using the link below and then complete the following steps:
You can now re-enrol with the warehousekeeper excise ID on the 'Your HMRC Services' page.
When you have registered, enrolled and activated EMCS you will be able to:
The first person from an organisation to register with HMRC Online Services is an Administrator with full access rights to manage their Online Service Organisation account. This person can add other members of their organisation onto the service either as a fellow Administrator (peer) with the same rights to access and manage online services, or as an Assistant with a restricted subset of access rights.
You can only add 'Administrators and Assistants' by visiting the Government Gateway website and you will need your HMRC Online Services user ID and password. When you have accessed the Government Gateway you have the option to:
You can access the Government Gateway using the link below.
When non-EU excise goods are imported into the EU via a UK port or airport, they can only move under excise duty suspension arrangements to an allowable destination following their release to free circulation (after the import declaration has been made and accepted and the goods have been released from Customs control).
Only someone who is approved as a Registered Consignor can start a duty suspended movement on release of excise goods to free circulation. Registered Consignors must also register and enrol for EMCS in order to dispatch excise goods in duty suspension from the place of release to free circulation.
HMRC will only consider applications for Registered Consignor approval from import agents and authorised warehousekeepers who receive non-EU excise goods following their release to free circulation. Further information on how to apply to become a Registered Consignor can be found in Notice 196.
To apply for Registered Consignor approval, you will need to complete application form EX72 which can be found on the HMRC 'find a form' page using the link below, under the 'Excise forms' section.
Please note: If neither the import agent who declares the goods to free circulation nor the receiving excise warehousekeeper are approved as a Registered Consignor, the correct procedures have not been followed, which means the goods have not been correctly placed under an excise duty suspension arrangement. The goods are therefore deemed to have been released for consumption in the UK, and as such, the import agent may be liable for the excise duty due.
Both Registered Consignees and Temporary Registered Consignees need prior approval from HMRC. Once approved, they can receive goods dispatched from another Member State under duty suspension arrangements but can not hold or dispatch duty suspended goods.
Registered Consignees and Temporary Registered Consignees must also be able to receive notification of goods intended for them and discharge those movements online using EMCS. These traders must therefore register and enrol for EMCS.
All the legal requirements of EMCS apply to both direct and indirect exports of duty suspended excise goods. The customs export declaration is a separate procedure and does not replace EMCS requirements.
Further details regarding direct and indirect exports can be found in Notice 197.
Before you remove excise goods from the excise warehouse, you must ensure that you have completed an eAD and received the Administrative Reference Code (ARC). Completing the eAD for export movements is the same as for all other excise duty suspended movements. However, certain information fields need to be completed as follows:
You can make the export declaration before, or at the time the goods arrive at the place of exit from the UK. Alternatively this may be done using LCP if you are authorised to do so.
You must make sure that the eAD and the export declaration are cross referenced. Excise Information Sheet 10/12 outlines the requirement to show the full ARC (or Local Reference Number (LRN) if the movement is started under fallback procedures) in box 40 of the export declaration. You need to complete the three fields in Box 40 as follows:
You can amend the export declaration at any time prior to the departure message being received.
Note: for exports started under fallback procedures you need to complete the three fields in Box 40 as follows:
In addition and for indirect exports only, box 29 of the export declaration must be completed. Volume 3 Part 1 of the Integrated Tariff gives details of how to complete this box.
Only when the dispatching warehousekeeper receives a report of export from HMRC is the movement considered to have ended and the guarantor's potential liability discharged. The only exception to this is for direct exports under Local Clearance Procedures (LCP).
Further information about obtaining a report of export can be found in Notice 197. Additionally, Excise Information Sheet 05/13 sets out the procedures that must be followed in order for the dispatching warehousekeeper to correctly close the excise duty suspended movement on EMCS when exporting excise goods to a non-EU country.
There are some circumstances when a direct export from the UK - which is one where goods leave the territory of the EU directly from the UK - may be moved to the place of exit in the UK without completing an eAD. You do not need to complete an eAD if all the following conditions are met:
Warehousekeepers of dispatch should obtain and keep commercial evidence that the goods have left the territory of the UK/EU. This should be the notification of departure and, at the very least, this evidence should detail the export declaration Movement Reference Number (MRN).