Czech winemakers reject the possible introduction of an excise tax on the production of so-called still, ie still wine. According to them, this would damage the domestic market and benefit foreign winemakers. This was stated by the President of the Wine Union of the Czech Republic, Ondřej Beránek, at a press conference on Wednesday. At present, there is a zero excise tax on still wine in the Czech Republic, and according to a survey of winemakers, none of the major political parties supports the change. According to Beránek, however, considerations about the introduction of the tax always appear in connection with a tight state budget.
According to the union, winegrowers now have to deal with a number of obstacles, such as the effects of coronavirus, long-term labor shortages and climate change. According to Beránek, these factors require an increase in investment, especially in technology. According to the head of the Wine Union, the introduction of an excise tax on still wines would further increase the costs of domestic winemakers. According to winemakers, the current zero rate is one of the important forms of support for domestic viticulture and viticulture.
“Considerations about the introduction of an excise tax on still wine always appear in connection with a tight state budget,” Beránek said. According to him, the main consequences are mainly negative consequences for the taxation of wine. “First of all, any increase would contribute to the development of the gray economy, which was largely suppressed by the amendment to the Wine Act. It would further worsen the position of our winemakers vis-à-vis foreign competition,” he added. He also pointed to the results of an earlier study, according to which the introduction of an excise duty on still wine would be economically inefficient due to the cost of collecting the tax.
Winemakers point out that still wine is not subject to excise duty in almost none of the major producer countries in the EU. The President of the Association of Trade and Tourism of the Czech Republic, Tomáš Prouza, is also against the taxation of wine. “During the pandemic, sales of Czech wines increased and customers learned to look for them. But the Czech customer is also sensitive to the price, and if the state makes Czech wines more expensive, some customers will return to imported wines,” said Prouza. According to him, this could also have effects on wine tourism and lower tax collections for purchases, which would then be moved abroad.
On Wednesday, winemakers also briefly focused on the current harvest. In recent days, they have already started picking grapes for St. Martin’s wines. At the same time, the main part of the vintage begins in Moravia.
According to the Czech Statistical Office, wine consumption in the Czech Republic last year was 20.3 liters per person, down 0.3 percent year on year. According to the latest ministerial report on wine, 481 thousand hectoliters of wine were produced in the Czech Republic between 2019 and 2020, a year-on-year decrease of 29 percent. About two-thirds are white wines, the rest red.
Source: Tyden.cz by www.tyden.cz.
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