On 8 November 2011, the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter the Parliament) adopted amendments to Articles 24 and 25 of the Law of the Republic of Lithuania on Excise Duties (hereinafter the Law on Excise Duties). The amendments provide for new rates of excise duty on wine from fresh grapes and other fermented drinks. Wine and other fermented drinks, in which the percentage of actual ethyl alcohol concentration by volume (in case of other fermented drinks, such concentration obtained only by fermentation) does not exceed 8.5 per cent, shall be subject to excise duty at the rate of 58 LTL per product hectolitre (compared to the previous rate of 53 LTL); other beverages not specified herein shall be subject to excise duty at the rate of 198 LTL per product hectolitre. Intermediate products, in which the percentage of actual alcohol concentration by volume does not exceed 15 per cent, shall be subject to excise duty at the rate of 216 LTL per product hectolitre. Intermediate products, in which the percentage of actual alcohol concentration by volume is higher than 15 per cent, shall be levied excise duty at the rate of 304 LTL per product hectolitre.
These amendments came into force on 1 January 2012.
On 29 November 2011, the Parliament adopted amendments to Articles 30, 31 and 53 of the Law on Excise Duties to modify, inter alia, the excise duties levied on cigarettes. The amendments provide that combined excise duty on cigarettes shall be not lower than 232 LTL for 1 000 cigarettes (in lieu of the previous rate of 80 LTL).
These amendments came into force on 1 March 2012.
On 15 December 2011, the Parliament adopted an amendment to Article 34 of the Law on Excise Duties. The amendment provides that the highest retail price for cigarettes must be indicated on the packaging of cigarettes rather than on the tax stamp marking the packaging of cigarettes. This amendment was made in the hope to lessen the administrative burden on the business and on the tax administration bodies.
This amendment came into force on 1 March 2012.
Amendments to the Law on Tobacco Control proposed
The Government returned the Parliament, by resolution No. 1208 of 19/10/2011, a refined draft law on the amendment and supplement of the Law on Tobacco Control. The draft law, inter alia, proposes to supplement Article 26 with new parts 51 and 52 establishing new sanctions on legal entities and branches of foreign legal entities.
The draft law provides for sanctions on minor infringements of restrictions on sales, storage or transportation of tobacco products as well as for sanctions on sales, storage or transportation of tobacco products having no obligatory legally valid documents certifying the purchase or transportation of tobacco products at the locations of sales and/or storage or during the time of transportation.
Following the draft law on the amendment and supplement of the Law on Tobacco Control, submitted to the Parliament on 5 October 2011, it is suggested to amend the Article 22 of the Law by including the provision on application of 5 % of excise duties, received as from the processed tobacco, on support of social advertising and promotion of non-smoking in mass media.
Amendments to the Law on Alcohol Control proposed
On 11 October 2011 the Government of the Republic of Lithuania submitted to the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania the draft law on the amendment and supplement to the Law on Alcohol Control. The draft law proposes to establish restrictions on sale of alcoholic beverages in stationary petrol stations: it is suggested to prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages containing ethyl alcohol concentration higher than 6 % starting as from 1 January 2013, and to prohibit overall sale of alcoholic beverages as from 1 January 2016.
The draft law also proposes for the establishment of other restrictions related to the sale of alcohol, for instance prohibition to sell beer, cider, beer blends with non-alcoholic beverages, alcoholic cocktails, contained in the packing above 1 litre. It is suggested to prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages, containing ethyl alcohol concentration higher than 7.5 % in retail companies. Moreover, the draft law provides for the prohibition of access of persons under 18 years to the bars, restaurants, cafes, buffets and other public catering establishments as from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and the obligation to the undertakings, licenced to engage in retail trade of alcoholic beverages and engaged in mass catering operations, to ensure the compliance with the requirement mentioned. It is suggested to prohibit selling alcoholic beverages in the premises where art, cultural and sport events take place; to prohibit selling alcoholic beverages from 10 p.m. till 8 a.m. in catering establishments, licenced to engage in retail trade of alcoholic beverage. This restriction shall not apply to the catering establishments, licenced to engage in retail trade of alcoholic beverages, sold on tap or in open packaging to be consumed at the place of purchase. The draft law also proposed that as from 1 January 2016 the sale of alcoholic beverages shall be allowed only in the special alcoholic beverages undertakings which comply with the appropriate requirements (in the particular alcoholic beverages sections of retail companies).
In addition, the dedicated section of the draft law on the amendment and supplement to the Law on Alcohol Control suggests to embed the concept of “hidden alcohol advertising” in order to ensure the appropriate supervision of the restricted hidden alcohol advertising and obligate the Drug, Tobacco and Alcohol Department to apply economic sanctions to legal persons, violating the restriction.
Additional Protocol to the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR) concerning the Electronic Consignment Note has been ratified
On 12 November 2010, the Parliament passed the law to ratify the Additional Protocol to the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR) Concerning the Electronic Consignment Note (hereinafter “the Protocol”) that will enter into force for the Republic of Lithuania as of 5 June 2011. The Protocol sets out the legal framework for using electronic means of recording consignment note data. The electronic consignment note for carriage of goods by road is authenticated by means of an electronic signature or by any other electronic authentication method permitted by the law of the country in which the electronic consignment note has been made out. To date, the Protocol is valid in Bulgaria, Latvia, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. By allowing the use of electronic consignment notes, the Protocol will enable carriers and freight forwarders of States parties to the Protocol to conclude and, whenever necessary, change faster and simpler contracts for the international carriage of goods by road. The Protocol will also allow transferring information much faster and more efficient; carriers and operators will benefit from saving time and money.