What Me Worry! – Iceland Levies Highest Alcohol Taxes In Europe

According to figures from Spirits Europe white and red wine sold in Iceland is the heaviest taxed in Europe and with s new proposed hike for 2018, the price of the cheapest available bottle of wine will rise by 11.1%. An argument put forth by the government has been to create parity between taxes on beer and wine, yet with the proposed 2018 government budget, alcohol taxes in Iceland will become the highest in Europe, according to the Icelandic Federation of Trade.

While the reasoning behind making taxes on wine and beer equal is understood, said the federation’s Secretary General Ólafur Stephensen, “taxes on alcohol have reached such completely nonsensical levels that we should be lowering taxes on beer rather than raising them on wine.” To name one example of the level of taxation on alcohol in Iceland, the price of a bottle of vodka is 84.4% taxes. Compared to say Norway, a Scandinavian country with high alcohol taxes, they are on average 28.8% higher here than in Norway, with taxes on fortified wines, such as port and sherry 89% higher.

As if to add insult to injury, due to taxes on alcohol being a fixed ISK amount based on alcohol percentage, cheaper wines will become proportionately more expensive than expensive ones and, according to Secretary General Ólafur Stephensen, enough is enough and that “it is high time some of those so-called liberal MPs in government acquiesce to that it is impossible to endlessly raise taxes on a single consumable good”.

Now of course many if not nost most of you planning on a visit in near future, are not that worried, as a sip or two of your favourite Single Malt is something you can look forward to on your return from Iceland. Also, and this is a known fact, most of you are here anyway to sample our island’s rugged and beautiful nature and taste five differents sets of weather on any given day, rather than five different Single Malts, and should you belong to that elite corps of tourists, we welcome you and salute your resilience.

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