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Sparkling wine tax

Germany is the last country in the EU where a sparkling wine tax must be paid. It was introduced in 1902 by Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941) to finance the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal (since 1948 the Kiel Canal) and the imperial navy. Its amount at the time was 50 pfennigs per bottle. The effect paid off, as 11 million bottles of German sparkling wine were taxed in 1905. Although the tax was abolished in 1933 as a measure to overcome the economic crisis, it was reintroduced in 1939 in the form of a war surcharge, especially for the development of the submarine fleet. It provoked the production of the cheapest sparkling wines. The wording of the law in official German is as follows: In summary, these are sparkling wines in bottles with a sparkling wine stopper fixed by a special holding device or which, at plus 20 °Celsius, have an excess pressure due to dissolved carbon dioxide of3 bar or more and, depending on their alcoholicstrength and composition, are to be classified under heading 2204, 2205 or 2206 of the Customs Tariff. The alcoholic strength by volume must be at least 1,2 % and not more than 15 %.

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