The corona crisis has also influenced the buying behavior of smokers for tobacco products. Austrians buy cigarettes and co. Mainly domestically.
Due to the Corona-related measures such as lockdown, border closings and restrictions in border traffic, significantly more tobacco products were sold in Austria. This showed how many cigarettes and other tobacco products were previously imported from neighboring countries and thus not taxed in Austria. Due to the reduced border traffic and the increased controls, the tobacco tax revenues in Austria increased by 100 million euros in the previous year. In 2019, tobacco tax revenues amounted to 1.99 billion euros.
As a study by the EU Commission from 2018/19 shows, Austria has the highest level of cross-border tobacco purchases at 19 percent due to its central location in Europe and the generally higher price level compared to the other EU member states. In France, the cross-border share per capita is 18 percent, the EU average is twelve percent.
The Federal Committee of Tobacco Shops in the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKÖ) therefore proposes a reduction in the allowances for tobacco products, i.e. the amount of cigarettes etc. that a traveler can bring to Austria from another EU country without any obligation to pay taxes. Specifically, Josef Prirschl, federal chairman of the tobacco shop in the WKÖ, recommends the following reductions: 200 instead of 800 cigarettes, 100 instead of 400 cigarillos, 50 instead of 200 cigars and 250g instead of 1kg fine cut.
Prirschl is based on a model: “France reacted to the increased tobacco sales in the country after the first lockdown and already decided to reduce this amount in August 2020. It is in the interests of all of us to continue to earn higher tobacco tax revenues and to support a Use EU law-compliant lowering of the exemption limits for tobacco products. “
The systematic customs controls that are currently being carried out are consistently successful. Due to the intensive international cooperation of the authorities, illegal cigarette factories have recently been increasingly discovered and shut down throughout Europe.
Tobacconist's spokesman Prirschl: “I would like to express my thanks to the Ministry of Finance. The use of the customs authorities to control tobacco imports at the Austrian borders and their fight against international cigarette smugglers will ensure the economic survival of Austrian tobacconists. A lowering of the exemption limits brings the state Additional income in the millions and secures the existence of tobacconists in Austria. “