Taxation Tensions Rise Over Wine in the Government

The abolishment of the tax exemption for wines and ciders is continually being deferred. Ministers are not rushing with the proposal. Though some parties support taxation, no one has convened a coalition negotiation yet. However, according to Prime Minister Petr Fiala, it must be clear by the end of June. Otherwise, changes might not pass through parliament.

“We are having a debate about still wine even within ODS. I said it must be clear by the holidays, and I think it will be,” promised Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) in the Politalk podcast. While the Prime Minister adopts a rather cautious stance, Minister of Finance Zbyněk Stanjura (ODS) has repeatedly supported the abolition of the exemption and the introduction of an excise tax. He anticipated back in April that the cabinet could decide by the end of May so that legislators could approve the bill by the end of the year.

However, they are waiting for someone to convene the meeting. The Ministry of Health and TOP 09, according to Minister Vlastimil Válek (TOP 09), support taxation and would also raise their hand for taxing sugar in sweetened drinks. But the Ministry of Finance must come up with a proposal, which is waiting for a prompt from other parties.

Beer consumption is slightly decreasing, but wine consumption is on the rise. The National Economic Council of the Government has previously stated that introducing an excise tax on still wine, which would be linked to the alcohol concentration in the drink, would help reverse the trend. Smaller winemakers would be subject to a lower tax rate.

“If the Ministry of Finance comes up with any other proposal to increase state treasury revenues, leading to an increase in the price of unhealthy products, which undoubtedly include sweetened drinks with a higher sugar level, I will support it,” he told Novinky.