Administrative Documents used in the Excise Movement Control System (EMCS)

Document name

Administrative documents used in the Excise Movement Control System (EMCS in the EU, or equivalent)


The EMCS in the EU, including the UK, primarily revolves around the monitoring and control of movements of excise goods under duty suspension within the EU. The ECMS utilises digital administrative documents such as the Electronic Accompanying Document (eAD) and the Simplified Accompanying Document (SAD). These documents are integral to the movement and control of excisable goods, with the eAD being used for goods under excise duty suspension and the SAD for duty-paid products.


These documents are typically created by:

  • Suppliers or manufacturers: For movements of excise goods under duty suspension, the supplier or manufacturer of the goods is often responsible for creating and submitting the required excise documents such as the eAD in the EU's EMCS.
  • Warehouse keepers: In cases where goods are moved from an excise warehouse, the warehouse keeper may be responsible for creating the necessary documentation, such as the SAD for duty-paid products.

The targets or recipients of these documents usually include:

  • Regulatory or government agencies: Specifically, Customs and excise authorities who oversee the movement of excise goods and ensure compliance with regulations.
  • Carriers and logistic service providers: They may receive these documents as part of the logistics and transportation process, ensuring they are transporting goods in compliance with excise regulations.

Other parties like buyers, banks, or other financial institutions might also be involved in the process, particularly in scenarios where the movement of goods is linked to financial transactions or trade financing.

Legal requirement

The administrative documents used in the EMCS are subject to public laws and are legally required in the EU to ensure that the movement of excise goods is monitored and controlled, helping to prevent fraud and ensuring that all necessary duties are paid.

The two main types of documents in this system are:

  • eAD: This document is used for the movement of excise goods under duty suspension. It contains essential information about the movement, including details of the sender, receiver, and goods being transported. The eAD is a legal requirement and ensures that excise goods are properly monitored from the point of dispatch to the point of receipt within the EU.
  • SAD: This document is used for the movement of duty-paid excise goods. Like the eAD, it contains information about the sender, receiver, and the goods but is used when the goods have already had duty paid on them.


More than 190,000 economic operators currently use the ECMS


The EMCS is a computerised system that tracks and monitors the movement of excise goods within the EU to ensure proper excise duty compliance. The system involves the exchange of various administrative documents to facilitate the movement of excise goods and ensure accurate record-keeping.


The EMCS is specific to the EU and is used for the movement of excise goods like alcohol, tobacco, and energy products. It streamlines and secures the process of excise goods movement across the EU member states, ensuring that all necessary duties and taxes are accounted for and paid where applicable.

Key functionalities of the EMCS include:

  1. Electronic processing and monitoring of excise goods movements.
  2. Providing an online system for traders to submit and receive notifications related to the movement of excise goods.
  3. Ensuring that excise goods are accompanied by an eAD during their movement under duty suspension.
  4. Enabling real-time tracking of excise goods and immediate notification of any irregularities or changes in their movement.
  5. Allowing customs and excise authorities to electronically verify and control the movement of excise goods.


See example from the UK guide which has data element details for the eAD.


  • Providing APIs or other means of integration between the ECMS and business software used by the relevant industries.
  • Adapt and pilot the EMCS model in different global regions, tailoring it to meet specific local legal and regulatory requirements. This approach involves modifying the system to align with each region's unique excise goods control framework while maintaining its core functionalities. Implementing pilot programs in interested countries will demonstrate the system's effectiveness in diverse settings, providing valuable insights for its broader deployment and ensuring its flexibility and relevance across various jurisdictions.