Cross-border alcohol trade on the Estonian-Latvian border accounted for 13 percent of Latvia's alcohol excise duty revenue in 2017, data from the Latvian State Revenue Service (VID) shows.
According to the VID, excise duty paid on alcohol purchased as part of cross-border trade totaled €25.6 million, while the total amount of alcohol excise collected in Latvia during the year was €198.09 million.
The data reflects the sale of alcohol in the border towns of Valka, Ainaži, Rūjiena and Ape. In these regions, eight million liters of hard liquor and about 16 million liters of beer was sold in 2017, compared to about two million liters of strong liquor and nine million liters of beer in 2016.
The tax authority noted that the legal alcohol market expanded not just along the border last year, as the purchasing power of local residents has been high enough to ensure a slow but stable increase in alcohol sales.
While Latvia and Lithuania have roughly similar rates of excise tax on strong liquor, the Latvian rate is 1.5 times lower than that of Estonia. The excise tax on beer in Latvia is five percent lower than in Lithuania and 2.5 times lower than in Estonia.
In the first three months of 2018, Latvia's revenue from excise tax on alcoholic beverages, including beer, totaled €48.11 million, up €9.11 million on year.
Editor: Aili Vahtla