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Spirits or tax-free alcoholic beverages may be purchased and used only by an actor with a licence to use the products in question. The use of denatured ethanol is no longer subject to a licence.
A licence to use spirits is granted to an applicant who has a justified need for the use of spirits in the manufacturing or quality assurance of products in business operations.
A licence to use tax-free alcoholic beverages is granted to an applicant who has the right to use tax-free alcoholic beverages referred to in Section 8 of the Act on Excise Duty on Alcohol and Alcoholic Beverages (1471/1994).
The licence to use industrial/kitchen alcohol is site-specific. In addition to the name and address of the site, the alcohol types, the purpose of use approved for them and the annual quota are recorded in the licence. Spirits or tax-free alcoholic beverages may only be used for the purpose specified in the licence to use.
Tax-free applications include:
products used in the production of products referred to in the alcohol excise duty act or vinegar;
products used in the production of other products, if the products do not contain alcohol that can be consumed;
products used for scientific research and teaching or in tests and analyses necessary in laboratory operations;
products contained in flavourings used in the production of foods or beverages containing no more than 1.2 percent by volume of ethyl alcohol;
products included in the pharmaceutical products referred to in the Medicines Act (395/1987), and products used in the manufacturing of pharmaceutical products or medical devices and supplies referred to in the Medical Devices Act (629/2010);
products included in filled or other foods with an alcohol content of no more than 8.5 litres of pure alcohol in 100 kilogrammes of chocolate or 5 litres of pure alcohol in 100 kilogrammes of other foods;
products included in the nutritional supplements referred to in the Decree of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry issued under Section 7 and Section 9, Paragraph 3, of the Food Act (23/2006);
products used in the production of soft drinks referred to in the Excise Duty Act on Sweets, Ice-Cream and Soft Drinks (1127/2010);
products delivered for medical or medicinal purposes to pharmacies referred to in the Medicines Act, hospitals referred to in the Act on Specialised Medical Care (1062/1989), health care centres referred to in the Primary Health Care Act (66/1972); and
products delivered for medical or medicinal purposes to health care service providers referred to in the Private Health Care Act (152/1990).
Quality control and other use necessary in production, product development and cleaning use necessary for the operation of machines and equipment are equated with the production referred to above in Paragraph 1.
Pharmacies, health care centres and municipal or university hospitals referred to in item 9 do not need a licence to use.
Applying for a license
To apply for a license to use and purchase industrial/kitchen alcohol, please use the relevant form (Teollisuus-/keittiöalkoholin käyttölupa). Applicants must ensure they have enclosed all the supporting documents listed on the form.
Processing times vary but, as a rule, applications will be processed in approximately 2 weeks from the date of receipt. The fee payable for the application is determined by a Ministry of Social Affairs and Health decree.
All alcohol license applications should be submitted to Valvira in Finnish or Swedish. Applicants may appoint a representative or proxy to assist them during the application process. The representative is required to present written authorisation to act on the applicant’s behalf.
Import licenses of spirits are granted until further notice and the license will remain valid indefinitely, provided that the license holder continues to satisfy the license requirements.
License holder responsibilities
The license holder is responsible for notifying Valvira in writing of any changes to their details or activities, including changes to ownership, name, location, type of alcohol use and annual consumption. You are also required to notify Valvira in writing if you cease trading or no longer require the license.
Alcohol products subject to licensing must be stored in a locked storage area and the license holder is required to keep a record of consumption. The use of tax-free kitchen alcohol for the preparation of beverages or blended beverages is prohibited. Kitchen alcohol must be stored separately from alcohol intended for serving purposes. The license holder’s responsibilities are set out in more detail in Valvira’s guide, Industrial alcohol and its use, available in Finnish and Swedish.
Valvira may revoke a license if the license holder is found to be neglecting their duties under the license or if there is evidence of other abuses.
An annual control fee is payable by license holders for the control activities performed by the authorities. The fee is payable in arrears and the amount is determined by the license holder’s alcohol purchases and the number of litres imported for their own use. The control fee term runs from 1 September until 31 August. Invoices are issued annually, no later than the end of November.
The control fee is charged at EUR 0.19 per litre for spirits and EUR 0.09 for alcoholic beverages. Please note that the control fee is subject to a minimum of EUR 95.00 and a maximum of EUR 1,900.
No control fee is payable for denatured ethanol and alcohol preparations similar to alcohol beverages.