1871 U.S. Revenue stamp for 1/6 barrel of beer
Brewers would receive the stamp sheets, cut them into individual stamps, cancel them, and paste them over the bung of the beer barrel so when the barrel was tapped it would destroy the stamp.[1]

An excise or excise tax is any duty on manufactured goods which is levied at the moment of manufacture, rather than at sale. Excises are often associated with customs duties (which are levied on pre-existing goods when they cross a designated border in a specific direction); customs are levied on goods which come into existence – as taxable items – at the border, while excise is levied on goods which came into existence inland.

Although sometimes referred to as a tax, excise is specifically a duty; tax is technically a levy on an individual (or more accurately, the assessment of what that amount might be), while duty is a levy on particular goods. An excise is considered an indirect tax, meaning that the producer or seller who pays the levy to the government is expected to try to recover their loss by raising the price paid by the eventual buyer of the goods. Excises are typically imposed in addition to an indirect tax such as a sales tax or value-added tax (VAT). Typically, an excise is distinguished from a sales tax or VAT in three ways:

  1. an excise is typically a per unit tax, costing a specific amount for a volume or unit of the item purchased, whereas a sales tax or value-added tax is an ad valorem tax and proportional to the price of the goods,
  2. an excise typically applies to a narrow range of products, and
  3. an excise is typically heavier, accounting for a higher fraction of the retail price of the targeted products.

Typical examples of excise duties are taxes on gasoline and other fuels, and taxes on tobacco and alcohol (sometimes referred to as sin tax).

History and rationale

Excise is derived from the Dutch accijns, which is presumed to come from the Latin accensare, meaning simply "to tax".

Excise was introduced in the mid 17th century under the Puritan regime. In the British Isles, upon the Restoration of the Monarchy, many of the Puritan social restrictions were overturned, but excise was re-introduced, under the Tenures Abolition Act 1660, in lieu of rent, for tenancies of royally-owned land which had not already become socage. Although the affected tenancies were limited in number, the excise was levied more generally; at the time, there was thought to be a rough correspondence between the wealthy manufacturers of affected goods, and the wealthy tenants of royal land.

Excise duties or taxes continued to serve political as well as financial ends. Public safety and health, public morals, environmental protection, and national defense are all rationales for the imposition of an excise. In defense of excises on strong drink, Adam Smith wrote: "It has for some time past been the policy of Great Britain to discourage the consumption of spirituous liquors, on account of their supposed tendency to ruin the health and to corrupt the morals of the common people."[2] Samuel Johnson was less flattering in his 1755 dictionary:

EXCI'SE. n.s. ... A hateful tax levied upon commodities, and adjudged not by the common judges of property, but wretches hired by those to whom excise is paid.[3]

As a deterrent, excise is typically directed towards three broad categories of harm:

Monies raised through excise may be earmarked for redress of specific social costs commonly associated with the product or service on which it is levied. Tobacco tax revenues, for example, might be spent on government anti-smoking campaigns, or healthcare for cancer, heart disease, vascular disease, lung disease, and so on.

In some countries, excise is also levied on some goods for purely punitive reasons. Many US states impose excise on illegal substances;[4] these places do not consider it to be a revenue source, but instead regard it as a means of imposing a greater level of punishment, by opening up convicted criminals to the charge of tax evasion.

Other Languages
башҡортса: Акциз
беларуская: Акцыз
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Акцыз
български: Акциз
čeština: Spotřební daň
eesti: Aktsiis
Esperanto: Akcizo
euskara: Zerga berezi
français: Droit d'accise
한국어: 물품세
հայերեն: Ակցիզ
हिन्दी: उत्पाद कर
hrvatski: Trošarine
Ido: Acizo
Bahasa Indonesia: Cukai
italiano: Accisa
עברית: בלו (מס)
қазақша: Акциздер
Кыргызча: Акциз
latviešu: Akcīze
lietuvių: Akcizas
македонски: Акцизи
मराठी: अबकारी कर
Nederlands: Accijns
日本語: 物品税
norsk: Særavgift
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Aksiz
Qaraqalpaqsha: Aktsiz
română: Acciză
русский: Акциз
Simple English: Excise tax
سنڌي: آبڪاري
slovenščina: Trošarina
ślůnski: Akcyza
српски / srpski: Akciza
svenska: Punktskatt
татарча/tatarça: Акциз
тоҷикӣ: Аксиз
українська: Акциз
vèneto: Açixa