Despite its selective nature, the excise duty is one of the most effective sources of the state budget revenues. A fundamental influence on the receipts from this source is exercised by: the kinds and number of articles recognized as excisable and the volume of their sales in the country and of their imports, the excise duty rates, the extent of granted allowances and exemptions, as well as the efficiency in collecting the revenues from this duty. The range of excise duty applicability is very large and covers a great number of articles, many of them of no significant fiscal importance. At the same time, the list of allowances and exemptions introduced both by acts of Parliament or by ordinances of government bodies is excessively extended. The bulk of revenues obtained from the excise duty comes from taxation of alcoholic beverages, tobacco articles and fuels, while the source of greatest importance is the duty on domestic sales of goods that, in 1994-2001, provided on the average 87.7% of the total excise duty revenues. The taxation of imports played a much smaller role. The rates of excise duty burden are relatively high and since the start of their functioning have been many times modified. However, in recent years a trend towards stabilizing the excise duty rates, and even towards reducing some of them, can be observed. Excessive excise rate duties led to deterioration in the condition of the spirits, wine and tobacco branches. Financial difficulties of some firms, especially those producing alcoholic beverages, led to accumulation of arrears in the discharge of their excise duty liabilities and to remission of a part of their indebtedness on that score. The excise duty is a flexible source of budget revenues and it is the Minister of Finance who plays the role of the main author of the state's policy in this area. He has broad powers in shaping the rates and introducing the allowances and exemptions and, consequently, in shaping the revenues from the excise duty. The excessive authority of the Minister of Finance and the use of excise duty as a source of additional revenue whenever the budget is in critical situation is often subject for criticism.
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