pay tobacco duty Unfortunately this specification of service has not yet been completely translated.

If you deal with tobacco products, you have to pay tobacco tax in certain cases.

Tobacco tax is an excise tax levied on tobacco products and tobacco equivalent goods (substitute products). Goods subject to tobacco tax are, for example:

  • Cigars or cigarillos
  • Cigarettes
  • smoking tobacco (fine-cut and pipe tobacco, water pipe tobacco)
  • heated tobacco
  • tobacco waste

Products subject to tobacco tax are defined as follows:

Cigars or cigarillos

Cigars or cigarillos are rolls of tobacco intended and suitable for smoking, wrapped in a wrapper or in a wrapper and a binder. The rolls of tobacco must

  • be made entirely of natural tobacco
  • have an outer wrapper of natural tobacco, or
  • be filled with cracked mixed tobacco and
    • have an outer wrapper of normal cigar colour made of reconstituted tobacco which completely envelops them (where appropriate, the filter but not the mouth-piece may also be wrapped)
    • have a unit weight (= average weight of 1,000 pieces without filter and mouthpiece at the time of taxation) of not less than 2.3 grams and not more than 10 grams
    • have a circumference of 34 millimetres or more over at least one third of their length.

Cigarettes are rolls of tobacco which are

  • are suitable for smoking directly and are not cigars or cigarillos as described above
  • are inserted into a cigarette paper tube by a simple non-industrial process, or
  • wrapped in a sheet of cigarette paper by a simple non-industrial process.

Smoking tobacco (fine cut and pipe tobacco).

Smoking tobacco is the generic term for fine-cut and pipe tobacco and is

  • tobacco cut or otherwise shredded or spun or pressed into slabs suitable for smoking without further industrial processing.
  • is not limited to finished products, but also includes tobacco processed and suitable for smoking as a precursor, semi-finished or intermediate product.
  • You can distinguish whether smoking tobacco is fine cut or pipe tobacco by the following characteristics.

Fine cut

  • has tobacco parts that are 25 percent of their weight less than 1.5 millimeters long or wide,
  • contains smoking tobacco intended for the manufacture of cigarettes, for example, according to the inscription on the sales packaging or other enclosed documentation
  • are used by consumers to make their own cigarettes.

Pipe tobacco

  • is smoking tobacco which cannot be classified as fine-cut.

Water pipe tobacco

  • Water pipe tobacco is classified as pipe tobacco even if its tobacco parts meet the size requirements for fine cut.

Heated tobacco ("heat-not-burn" products)

  • Heat-not-burn tobacco products are strands of tobacco (also called "tobacco sticks") surrounded by an aluminium paper composite and consumed by means of an electronic device. Heated tobacco is classified as pipe tobacco.

On the other hand, tobacco sticks that are not wrapped in an aluminium paper composite and can therefore be smoked directly like cigarettes are classified as cigarettes for tax purposes.

Tobacco waste

Tobacco refuse is smoking tobacco if

  • it is suitable for smoking
  • put up for retail sale and
  • are not cigars, cigarillos or cigarettes as described above.

Tobacco refuse means

  • the remains of tobacco leaves, and
  • by-products resulting from the processing of tobacco or from the manufacture, treatment or processing of tobacco products.

Goods assimilated to tobacco products (substitute products)

  • Such goods consist wholly or partly of substances other than tobacco, e.g. "herbal cigarettes", "smoke pastes", "water pipe wadding" or "vapour stones".

As a rule, tobacco tax arises as soon as the above-mentioned tobacco products enter the economic cycle in the German tax territory. This is the case when

  • you have taken tobacco products from a tax warehouse without a further tax suspension procedure.
  • you have consumed tobacco products in the tax warehouse,
  • you have received tobacco products as a registered consignee in your business. A registered consignee is a person who has a permit to receive excise goods on his premises after a movement under duty suspension.
  • You manufacture tobacco products without a permit from the main customs office,
  • you supply tobacco products to persons without a permit for the tax-exempt commercial use of tobacco products.
  • you hold tobacco products from the tax-free circulation of another Member State for commercial purposes, or
  • you import tobacco products from a third country or third territory.

The amount of tax is calculated on the basis of the relevant tax scale, the quantity and the value (retail selling price) of the tobacco products concerned.

No documentation is required.

  • Forms: yes
  • Online procedure: no
  • Written form required: yes
  • Personal appearance required: no

Related Links

  • Formular 1619 "Steueranmeldung für Tabaksteuerzeichen"
  • Formular 1625 "Steuererklärung für Tabakwaren im Einzelfall"


You must pay tobacco tax if the tax has arisen and you are liable for the tax within the meaning of the law. This can be the case in various constellations, for example, if

  • You are the owner of a tax warehouse from which the tobacco products were taken or consumed,
  • you are a "registered consignee" and receive tobacco products on your premises which were previously transported under duty suspension arrangements,
  • you have been involved in manufacturing without authorisation,
  • you have been involved in irregularities during a movement under suspension of excise duty,
  • you are holding tobacco products for commercial purposes in Germany which originate from the free circulation of another Member State, or
  • you import tobacco products from a third country or third territory.

Related Links

  • §§ 17 bis 18 Tabaksteuergesetz (TabStG)
  • §§ 32 bis 38 Tabaksteuer-Durchführungsverordnung (TabStV)

Related Links

  • Informationen zum Steuergegenstand im Tabaksteuerrecht auf der Internetseite der Zollverwaltung
  • Informationen zu Besteuerungsverfahren auf der Internetseite der Zollverwaltung

You must pay the tobacco tax in the form of the tax stamp debt by affixing German tax stamps to your retail sales packaging and cancelling them, i.e. using them. The tax stamps must already have been used at the time the tax is incurred.
In this way, you acquire the German tax stamps if you are in possession of a valid permit and are entitled to obtain tax stamps:

  • You can find the form "Tax declaration for tobacco tax stamps" (Form 1619) on the Customs website. This can be filled out digitally or manually after printing it out.
  • Calculate the tax stamp debt on the form.
  • Send the printed and signed form to the main customs office in Bielefeld.
  • Pay the tax stamp debt on the respective due date.
  • You will receive the ordered quantity of tax stamps.
  • Void the tax stamps and affix them to the sales packaging.

You must submit a tax return (in an individual case) if the tax is due to, for example

  • Unlawful removal from the tax warehouse or unlawful consumption in the tax warehouse,
  • production without the necessary permission from the main customs office,
  • irregularities during transport under suspension of excise duty,
  • supply to persons who do not hold a valid permit for tax-free commercial use,
  • holding tobacco products for commercial purposes (in the case of the transfer of tobacco products from the free circulation of another Member State).
  • has arisen.

To do this, proceed as follows:

  • Access the "Tax Return for Tobacco Products in Individual Cases" form (Form 1625) on the Customs website. Fill it out digitally or manually after printing it out.
  • Send the completed and signed form immediately to your competent main customs office.
  • You will receive a tax assessment.

The main customs office responsible is the one from whose district you operate your business or, if you do not operate a business, the one in whose district you are resident. If your business is operated from a location outside Germany or if you do not have a residence in Germany, the main customs office in whose district you first appear for tax purposes is locally responsible.

Please note that the tobacco products may be seized.

Responsible for the content
Federal Ministry of Finance

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