Taxation: tax increases on wines is dead and buried !

Wednesday March 26 2014 by Vitisphere

 

“Wine does not play a key role in influencing young people to drink strong alcohol – far from it” , conclude the rapporteurs from the “Mission d'Evaluation et de Contrôle de la Sécurité Sociale” (MECSS), and the senators Yves Daudigny (Aisne) and Catherine Deroche (Maine & Loire). After months of hearings, rumours and campaigning against behavioural taxation, the French wine industry can breathe a sigh of relief: among the ten recommendations made on19th March by the MECSS, none of them recommends increasing the tax on wine. Filed in late February, the report on “an overview of behavioural taxes” acknowledges that “the tax structure applied to alcoholic beverages reflects a juxtaposition of inherited taxes without any real coherence”. But the MECSS made a clear distinction between wine and other alcoholic beverages “the consumption of wine (mainly during a meal) reduces the risks associated with alcohol consumption – at least in comparison to the more party drinking type consumption associated with other alcoholic beverages”.

The conclusions of the MECSS have not however gone as far as those of their colleagues in the “Commission des Affaires Economiques du Sénat” (who adopted an amendment on 19th February “declaring the vine and wine part of national heritage”). Senators Daudigny and Deroche pointed out that “in reality, the tax exemption on wine is more a result of the economic and cultural weight of the wine industry in our country than for health reasons”. They also added that “from a competitive point of view, governments traditionally consider all types of alcoholic beverages as substitutable”.

It should be noted that if “the Mission believes that governments can legitimately resort to using taxation for health purposes”, it wishes to replace the term “behavioural taxation” by “contribution to public health”. This lexical modification would bring about “a break from the moral and guilt-inducing association with the term “behavioural” and highlight the objective and responsible nature of these levies”.

 

[Source: Vitisphere; Photo: North side of the Palais du Luxembourg, Sénat]

 

 

 

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