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Tax Strategy Group. (2021) General excise paper. Dublin: Department of Finance.

PDF (General excise paper.) - Published Version

Alcohol - introduction

The current rates and structures of excise duty on alcohol products are harmonised across the European Union through Directives 92/83/EEC and 92/84/EEC ('Alcohol Products Tax Directives’). This section outlines the main policy considerations regarding the Alcohol Products Tax as well as recent changes to rates, yields and consumption patterns. It also sets out options for Budget 2022. The current Programme for Government aims to continue to implement the Public Health (Alcohol) Act with the introduction of minimum unit pricing.


Tobacco – introduction

The current rates and structures of excise duty on tobacco products are harmonised across the European Union through Directive 2011/64/EU ('Tobacco Products Tax Directive').

The main policy considerations regarding the Tobacco Products Tax are:

  • Public Health Policy and Regulatory Changes;
  • Recent Changes to Rates and Yields;
  • Illicit Tobacco;
  • Non-Irish Duty Paid Products including Cross-Border Issues;
  • Minimum Excise Duty and Market Trends and
  • Revision of Tobacco Products Tax Directive and Novel Products.


Betting duty – introduction

The purpose of betting duty is to raise revenues for the State and to account for the negative externalities generated from betting activities – that is, the social costs of problem gambling. While revenues raised from betting duty go directly to the Exchequer, these are partly used to fund the Health, Justice and Welfare systems which bear the costs of problem gambling. The existence of betting duty also has an ancillary role in raising awareness of the risks of problem gambling.


Initial baseline research on the incidence of problem gambling was undertaken by the Department of Health18. The main findings from this survey are that 0.8% of the population (15 years or older) can be categorised as problem gamblers, with young males aged 18 to 34 having the highest incidence of problem gambling (2.9%). This research is based on fieldwork carried out between August 2014 and August 2015 and therefore it is likely that it does not fully capture trends relating to betting with smartphones and any impacts this is having on the incidence of problem gambling.


The Programme for Government included a commitment to establish a gambling regulator focused on public safety and wellbeing, covering gambling online and in person, and the powers to regulate advertising, gambling websites and apps. (See Section 3.4)

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