Excise Department of Sri Lanka - FAQs

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What are the Excisable Articles?

As per the definition given in the Excise Ordinance, Excisable Article means and includes any liquor as defined by the said Ordinance.

What is Liquor?

As per the definition given in the Excise Ordinance, liquor includes spirits of wine, spirit, wine, toddy, beer and all liquid consisting of or containing alcohol; also any substance which the minister may declare by a notification, to be liquor for the purpose of the said ordinance.

What is the Scope of the Excise Ordinance?

The scope of the Excise Ordinance consists of the entire liquor supply chain consisting of the six phases namely, importation, exportation, manufacturing, transportation, possession and sale of liquor, excise revenue management, enforcement of excise laws and social security mechanism against the illicit liquor.


 

What is the maximum limit to retail sale of liquor?

As per the powers vested by the Section 4 of the Excise Ordinance, the Minister in charge of the Subject related to the said Ordinance, may impose a maximum limit on retail sale of any liquor. In such instances retail sale, transportation or keeping in possession of the said liquor exceeding the said maximum limit on retail sale without a valid license would be a punishable offense under the Excise Ordinance. Maximum limits on retail sale of various types of liquor in Sri Lanka are as follows:4.

Relevant Excise Notification No.Type of LiquorLimit
745 Toddy 1.5 Litres
781 Arrack 7.5 Litres
985 Foreign Liquor 7.5 Litres
510 & 985 Malt Liquor (Beer) 7.5 Litres

Are there any restrictions regarding the possession and transport of liquor?

Limit set on possession and transportation of any liquor is related to the maximum limit set on retail sale of said liquor. Accordingly, possession or transportation of any liquor exceeding the maximum limit on retail sale of the same, without a valid license is a punishable offense. Maximum limits allowable for possession or transportation of various types of liquor without a valid license are as follows.

Relevant Excise Notification No. Type of Liquor Limit
745 Toddy 1.5 Litres
781 Arrack 7.5 Litres
985 Foreign Liquor 7.5 Litres
510 & 985 Malt Liquor (Beer) 7.5 Litres

What are various Excise Licenses operated in Sri Lanka pertaining to sale and manufacturing of liquor?

No. Type of License License' s Name
1 F.L.1 License to manufacture malt liquor
2 F.L.1 A License to manufacture country made foreign liquor
3 F.L.1 B License to manufacture, milk punch and/or wine
4 F.L.1 C License to manufacture country made foreign spirits from spirits distilled from the coconut or any of its products other than toddy.
5 License for Storage and Warehouses
6 License for manufacturing Industrial Products using Ethyl Alcohol
7 License for manufacturing & selling processed/ Molasses/ Palmyra/ Special/ Coconut Arrack, and /or for manufacture & issue to the wholesale outlets.
8 Distillery License
9 License to manufacture Vinegar
10 License for bottling of toddy
11 License to collect toddy
12 License for bottling of liquor
13 License for production and sale of fermented toddy
14 License for manufacturing of Tea Cider
15 License for Wholesale of liquor
16 License for retail sale of liquor
17 Foreign Liquor Tavern License
18 Hotel License
19 Hotel Bar License
20 Entertainment Bar License for Cinemas
21 Railway Restaurant License
22 Restaurant License
23 Rest House License
24 Proprietary Club License
25 Members only Clubs/ Club License
26 Occasional License
27 Supplementary License to extend the hours of sale.
28 F.L.16 Auctioneer's License
29 F.L.17 Rectified Spirits License
30 F.L.18 Medicated Wine License
31 F.L.22A License for retail sale of Beer, Ale, Stout and Wine
32 F.L.22B License for consumption of Beer, Ale, Stout and Wine at the premises
33 A.M.6 License for distributing Manufacturers' wholesale Arrack/Beer/Foreign liquor
34 License for selling wine spirits
35 License for Toddy Taverns sold by Tender.
36 Toddy and Arrack License for Estate Canteens
37 Special Three year approval for hotels (Boutique Villas)
38 A.(F.L.)1 A.(F.L.)2 A.(F.L.)3 A.(F.L.)4 Auxiliary Licenses issued for selling Arrack based on Licenses for sale of foreign liquor
39 License for sale of bottled toddy
40 License for the importation and possession of non- potable spirit
41 License for exporting liquor

What is the Application fee for Excise Licenses issued for sale of liquor?

As per the Excise Notification No.983 issued with regard to Excise License for the sale of liquor, the application fee for an Excise License for the sale of liquor is Rs.10,000.00.

What is the fee for excise permits which are issued for transportation of Liquor?

Excise Permits for the transportation of liquor are issued without charging a fee.

What are opening and closing hours of licensed premises for selling liquor?

Approved opening and closing hours for selling liquor in licensed premises as per the Excise Notification No.03/2018 published in the Extraordinary Gazette Notification No.2054/41 dated 18.01.2018 of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka are as follows;

 

 



No. Type of License License Business Hours
1 FL 4 License for retail sale of liquor 08.00 a.m.- 08.00 p.m. or 09.00 a.m.-09.00 p.m.
2 FL 5 Foreign Liquor Tavern License 11.00 a.m.- 2.00 p.m. and 05.00 p.m.- 8.00 p.m.
3 FL 7/8 Hotel License and Hotel Bar License (not approved by the Tourist Board) 11.00 a.m.- 2.00 p.m. and 05.00 p.m.- 11.00 p.m.
4 FL 7/8 Hotel License and Hotel Bar License (approved by the Tourist Board) 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 midnight
5 FL 9 Entertainment Bar License for Cinemas. 11.00 a.m. - 1.00 p.m. and 5.00 p.m -11.00 p.m. (Only when the entrainment is in progress)
6 FL 10 Railway Restaurant License 11.00 a.m. - 2.00 p.m. and 5.00 p.m -8.00 p.m.
7 FL 11 Railway Restaurant License 11.00 a.m. - 2.00 p.m. and 5.00 p.m -8.00 p.m.
8 FL 11 Restaurant License (not approved by the Tourist Board) 11.00 a.m. - 2.00 p.m. and 5.00 p.m -10.00 p.m.
9 FL 12 Rest House License 11.00 a.m. - 11.00 p.m.
10 FL 13 Proprietary Club License 11.00 a.m. - 2.00 p.m. and 5.00 p.m -11.00 p.m.
11 FL 13 A Members only Clubs/Social Club License 11.00 a.m. - 2.00 p.m. and 5.00 p.m -11.00 p.m.
12 FL 22A License for retail sale of Beer, Ale, Stout and Wine 08.00 a.m. - 8.00 p.m. and 9.00 a.m -9.00 p.m.
13 FL 22B License for the consumption of Beer, Ale, Stout and Wine in the premises (not approved by the Tourist Board) 11.00 a.m. - 2.00 p.m. and 5.00 p.m -10.00 p.m.
14 FL 22B License for consumption of Beer, Ale, Stout and Wine in the premises (approved by the Tourist Board) 11.00 a.m. - 2.00 p.m. and 5.00 p.m -11.00 p.m.
15 License for Toddy Taverns sold by Tender. 11.0 a.m. - 2.00 p.m. and 5.00 p.m -8.00 p.m.

Has sale of liquor been forbidden on certain days?

Excise Department annually declares the days on which excise licensed premises for selling liquor to be kept closed. Accordingly, days on which the excise licensed premises for selling liquor to be kept closed in the year 2018 have been given by the circular letter dated 21.12.2017 issued by the Commissioner General of Excise. Moreover, Commissioner General of Excise shall issue orders covering the whole island or each area as the case may be, to keep the excise licensed premises for selling liquor closed, based on various reasons as and when required, while actions shall be taken to give media publicity in that respect.

What are the documents needed for obtaining an occasional license (F.L.14) for sale of liquor?

Documents required for obtaining an occasional license (F.L.14) which is issued for the sale of liquor on occasions such as special ceremonies organized by the public are as follows: Letter given by the owner of the land or premises expressing consent to hold the function in the said land or premises. Further, there should be a clear statement in the said letter that he/she bears no objection over sale of liquor in the premises at the relevant occasion. (Please note that occasional licenses are not issued for functions which are hosted in school play grounds or buildings)

1. Recommendations of the Excise O.I.C. and Superintendent regarding the land or premises where the function is to be held.

2. Recommendation issued by the Police O.I.C of the area assuring that issuing an occasional license for the said function to be held in the said land or premises shall not create any adverse effect on law and order of the relevant area.

3. A letter illustrating the manner of sharing the profit gained by the sale of liquor under the occasional license requested. Said profit should be utilized for welfare activities of an institution. A letter of consent given by the said institution to accept the said money should also be attached.

4. When the Assistant Commissioner of Excise of the said area is satisfied of the relevant recommendations, he shall recommend the relevant Divisional Secretary to issue an occasional license. Thereafter, Divisional Secretary issues the license. As per the Excise Notification No. 1004, license fee of Rs.25,000.00 is charged per one day for this license.

5. Further, a report containing the details of liquor purchased and sold should be tendered to the Assistant Commissioner of Excise of the area within 6 weeks of operating this license.

What are the requirements to be fulfilled to shift the location of an Excise License for selling liquor?

 

 

  1.  Location of the premises Licensed for selling liquor can only be shifted within the relevant Assistant Commissioner of Excise.
  2.  An application should be obtained by paying a Rs.10,000.00 for applying to shift the location of an Excise License for selling liquor.
  3.  The licensee should prove the matters which led to the shifting of the licensed premises.
  4.  Requirements related to the prescribed distance limits from schools and places of religious worship to the new location of the licensed premises should be fulfilled.

How can the Excise License be extended/renewed?

Every license is subjected to annual renewal of its validity period. Generally, the prescribed period for renewal of validity of a license is one calendar year. Relevant Application should be obtained from the Office of the relevant Assistant Commissioner of Excise having paid an application fee of Rs.10,000.00 and the duly filled application along with other related documents, should be tendered to the Excise Officer in Charge of the relevant area. Thereafter, said applications should be forwarded to the Head Office of the Excise Department of Sri Lanka along with recommendations of the Excise Inspector, Excise O.I.C, Excise Superintendent and the Assistant Commissioner of Excise. In the event the requirements of said application is fulfilled to the satisfactory level, an order is issued to the relevant Divisional Secretariat to issue the Excise License for selling liquor for the year requested.

How does the Excise Department of Sri Lanka monitor the quality of locally manufactured or imported liquor?

Production process of liquor manufactured in Sri Lanka is continuously monitored by the Excise Officers attached to the Excise Units which are permanently established in said manufactories. A number of basic quality control tests are carried out throughout the liquor production process in addition to which Reports of Analysis are called from the Government Analyst having sent samples of liquor thus manufactured. Excise Officers continuously regulates the said production process by issuing appropriate orders based on the matters revealed from these tests and Reports of Analysis. With respect to the liquor imported to Sri Lanka, persons/institutions who wish to thus import liquor on commercial purpose should tender the samples of said liquor in addition to the documents needed for the purpose of verification of other qualifications to the Excise Department. Then, the approval is granted to import liquor in the event the Excise Department is satisfied over the report of analysis obtained from the Government Analyst pertain to said samples.

Has any fixed price been set on liquor kept in licensed premises for sale of liquor?

A controlled price has not been set on liquor kept for sale in Excise licensed premises keeping in line with the open trade policy. However, all liquor manufacturers or wholesale dealers should indicate the respective price on each and every bottle while liquor should be sold to that price indicated on the bottle. Said prices should also be displayed in the Excise Licensed premises for sale of liquor. If the selling prices are not displayed in excise licensed premises which sell liquor to be consumed within the premises, respective prices should be given in the Menu Card.

Is there a book keeping (Accounting) method to be maintained by the excise licensed premises for sale of liquor?

Yes, there is a book keeping (Accounting) method to be maintained with respect to stock changes and the daily trading of the excisable items which are kept for sale in various excise licensed premises for sale of liquor, using the specified formats. Said accounts shall be checked by the Excise Officers.

What is the current procedure of issuing an Excise License?

At present, excise licenses are not issued for the sale of liquor. However, new licenses are issued exclusively under the below mentioned categories only for Tourist Hotels approved by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and recommended for the issuance of an Excise License for the sake of promotion of tourism industry.

  1.  F.L.7/8 Hotel License and Hotel Bar License
  2.  F.L.11 Restaurant License
  3.  F.L.12 Rest House License
  4.  F.L.22B License for consumption of Beer, Ale, Stout and Wine at the premises
  5.  Special three-year approval for the sale of liquor

(Obtaining the approval of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority is a prerequisite for all the above licenses.) The applicants who intend to apply for above licenses should obtain a specified application by paying Rs.10,000/- subsequent to submission of a letter of requesting a new license along with the copy of the letter of recommendations issued by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority for the said license type and the copy of the company registration certificate or business registration certificate. Duly filled said application with other documents therein required and the recommendations of the relevant Excise O.I.C., Excise Superintendent and the Assistant Commissioner of Excise should be tendered to the Excise Head Office. When the said recommendations are satisfactory, actions are taken to call reports from the relevant Divisional Secretary and Officer-in-Charge of Excise. If the said reports are also satisfactory, a letter is forwarded to the respective Divisional Secretary informing to issue the relevant excise license in accordance with the Excise Notification No. 902 and existing policies. Then the Divisional Secretary shall issue the license subject to the payment of the prescribed license fee and other charges; if any.

What are the main ordinances and acts implemented by the Excise Department?

  1.  Excise Ordinance No8 of 1912 and its amendments
  2.  Tobacco Tax Act No.8 of 1999 and its amendments
  3.  Poisons, Opium and Dangerous Drugs Ordinance No.17 of 1929 and its amendments
  4.  National Authority of Tobacco and Alcohol Act No.27 of 2006
  5.  Conventions Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act No.1 of 2008

Information of the Head Office of the Excise Department:

Address : No. 353, kotte Road, Rajagiriya.

Telephone No. : 011 204 5000 Fax No. : 011 287 7890

Web site : www.excise.gov.lk

E mail : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

What are the information available at the Excise Departmental web site?

  • Annual Performance Reports
  • Excise Circulars and Notifications
  • Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
  • Contact numbers to reach departmental officers and regional offices
  • Details of departmental activities, organizational structure and the staff
  • Various Licenses Issued by the Department
  • Information of Head Office and Regional Offices of the Department
  • News and announcements on department activities
  • Various Application Forms
  • Photo and Video Gallery

What are the Contact Numbers to report urgent information (tips/complaints) on Excise Crimes?

  1. Commissioner General of Excise - 011-204-5043
  2. Deputy Commissioner of Excise   - 011-2045-084 (law enforcement)
  3. Special Operations Bureau, Colombo- 011-281-8476(regarding Island wide Excise Crimes)
  4. Special Operations Bureau, Southern Province - 091 2235422 (regarding Excise crimes in Southern Province)
  5. Special Operations Bureau, North Western Province – 037 2233164 (regarding Excise crimes in North Western Province)
  6. Special Operations Bureau, Central Province - 081 2238383 (regarding Excise crimes in Central Province)
  7. Special Operations Bureau, North Central Province - 025 2221797 (regarding Excise crimes in North Central Province)

 

 

 

What are the penalties prescribed for offenders under this Act?

 

In the Magistrates Count after summary trial a person found guilty is liable to a fine not exceeding one million rupees or for imprisoment of either description for a term not exceeding six months. The Secretary of the respective Ministry or the Commissioner General of Excise is empowered to compound offences of this nature by imposing a composition fine.

What are the offences and the respective penalties under the Excise Ordinance?

Offense Section Violated Section Convicted Penalty
Importation of excisable articles without payment of prescribed excise, customs or other duties or without a bond executed for the payment of such duty Section 10 Section 46 (a) Imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year or to a fine which may extend to one hundred thousand rupees, or to both such imprisonment and fine, and where the act hereby penalized is continued after conviction, he shall be liable to a further fine of ten thousand rupees for each day during which the offence is so continued.
Imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year or to a fine which may extend to one hundred thousand rupees, or to both such imprisonment and fine, and where the act hereby penalized is continued after conviction, he shall be liable to a further fine of ten thousand rupees for each day during which the offence is so continued. Section 11 Section 46 (a) Imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year or to a fine which may extend to one hundred thousand rupees, or to both such imprisonment and fine, and where the act hereby penalized is continued after conviction, he shall be liable to a further fine of ten thousand rupees for each day during which the offence is so continued.
Importation of excisable articles exceeding the prescribed quantity without a license. Section 13 Section 46 (a) Imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year or to a fine which may extend to one hundred thousand rupees, or to both such imprisonment and fine, and where the act hereby penalized is continued after conviction, he shall be liable to a further fine of ten thousand rupees for each day during which the offence is so continued.
Exportation of excisable articles exceeding the prescribed quantity without a license. Section 13 Section 46 (a) Imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year or to a fine which may extend to one hundred thousand rupees, or to both such imprisonment and fine, and where the act hereby penalized is continued after conviction, he shall be liable to a further fine of ten thousand rupees for each day during which the offence is so continued.
Transportation of excisable articles exceeding the prescribed quantity without a license. Section 13 Section 46 (a) Imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year or to a fine which may extend to one hundred thousand rupees, or to both such imprisonment and fine, and where the act hereby penalized is continued after conviction, he shall be liable to a further fine of ten thousand rupees for each day during which the offence is so continued.
Manufacture of excisable articles without a license. Section 15 (a) Section 46 (b) Imprisonment of either description for a term not less than six months and not exceeding five years or to a fine which may extend to one hundred thousand years or to both such imprisonment and fine and where the Act hereby penalized is continued after conviction he shall be liable to a further fine of fifteen thousand rupees
Tapping toddy producing tree other than Kithul Tree without a license. Section 15( b) Section 46 (c) Imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding one year or to a fine which may extend to one hundred thousand years or to both such imprisonment and fine and where the Act hereby penalized is continued after conviction he shall be liable to a further fine of ten thousand rupees for each day during which the offense is so continued.
Drawing toddy from any tree other than Kithul Tree without a license. Section 15 (c) Section 46 (d) Imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding one year or to a fine which may extend to one hundred thousand years or to both such imprisonment and fine and where the Act hereby penalized is continued after conviction he shall be liable to a further fine of ten thousand rupees for each day during which the offense is so continued.
Establishment or operation of a distillery, brewery, liquor manufactory or warehouse without a license. Section 15 (d) Section 46 (e) Imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding one year or to a fine which may extend to one hundred thousand years or to both such imprisonment and fine and where the Act hereby penalized is continued after conviction he shall be liable to a further fine of ten thousand rupees for each day during which the offense is so continued.
Using, keeping, or having in possession any materials, still, utensils, implement or apparatus for the purpose of manufacturing any excisable article other than toddy without a license. Section 15 (e) Section 46 (f) Imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding one year or to a fine which may extend to one hundred thousand years or to both such imprisonment and fine and where the Act hereby penalized is continued after conviction he shall be liable to a further fine of ten thousand rupees for each day during which the offense is so continued.
Bottling liquor for sale without a license. Section 15 (f) Section 46 (h) Imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding one year or to a fine which may extend to one hundred thousand years or to both such imprisonment and fine and where the Act hereby penalized is continued after conviction he shall be liable to a further fine of ten thousand rupees for each day during which the offense is so continued.
Keeping excisable articles exceeding the prescribed limit of sale by retail without a license. Section 17 Section 46 (a) Imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding one year or to a fine which may extend to one hundred thousand years or to both such imprisonment and fine and where the Act hereby penalized is continued after conviction he shall be liable to a further fine of ten thousand rupees for each day during which the offense is so continued.
Selling, keeping or exposing for sale any excisable article without a license. Section 18 Section 46 (a) Imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding one year or to a fine which may extend to one hundred thousand years or to both such imprisonment and fine and where the Act hereby penalized is continued after conviction he shall be liable to a further fine of ten thousand rupees for each day during which the offense is so continued.
Failure or refusal to stop any vehicle or vessel when directed to do so either verbally or by signal by an Excise Officer Section 35 (2) Section 35 (2) Imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding one year or to a fine which may extend to one hundred thousand years or to both such imprisonment and fine and where the Act hereby penalized is continued after conviction he shall be liable to a further fine of ten thousand rupees for each day during which the offense is so continued.
Failure of all proprietors, tenants, under tenants, and cultivators who own or hold land on which, there shall be any manufacture, unauthorized storage or sale of any excisable article not licensed under this Ordinance, to inform the relevant officers of the same. or ,in default of payment of fine ,to imprisonment which may extend to six months Section 43 (a) Section 50 A fine not less than one thousand rupees and not exceeding fifteen thousand rupees, or ,in default of payment of fine ,to imprisonment which may extend to six months .
Failure of all persons entitled, to the produce of, or to tap, palm trees on any land on which ,there shall be any manufacture ,unauthorized storage or sale of any excisable article not licensed under this Ordinance, to inform the relevant officers of the same as immediately as it has come to their knowledge . Section 43 (b) Section 50 A fine not less than one thousand rupees and not exceeding fifteen thousand rupees, or ,in default of payment of fine ,to imprisonment which may extend to six months
Failure of all Grama Niladharies in whose division ,there shall be any manufacture ,unauthorized storage or sale of any excisable article not licensed under this Ordinance, to inform the relevant officers of the same as immediately as it has come to their knowledge . Section 43 (c) Section 50 A fine not less than one thousand rupees and not exceeding fifteen thousand rupees, or ,in default of payment of fine ,to imprisonment which may extend to six months
Keeping in possession or transport any quantity of any excisable article which has been unlawfully imported or manufactured, or on which the prescribed duty has not been paid. Section 47 (1) Section 47 (1) Imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year or to a fine not less five thousand rupees and not exceeding one hundred and twenty five thousand rupees ,or
Failure of whoever, being the holder of a license, permit or pass ,or being in the employ of such holder and acting on his behalf to produce such license, permit or pass on the demand if any excise officer or any other officer duly empowered to make such demand Section 48 (a) Section 48 A fine not less five thousand rupees and not exceeding six hundred thousand rupees ,or in default of payment of such fine, to an imprisonment for a term which may extend to a period of three months.
A fine not less five thousand rupees and not exceeding six hundred thousand rupees ,or in default of payment of such fine, to an imprisonment for a term which may extend to a period of three months. Section 48 (b) Section 48 A fine not less five thousand rupees and not exceeding six hundred thousand rupees ,or in default of payment of such fine, to an imprisonment for a term which may extend to a period of three months.
Willful omission of doing anything in breach of any of the conditions of the license ,permit ,or pass not otherwise provided for in this ordinance any rule made under Section 32 by whoever, being the holder of a license, permit or pass ,or being in the employ of such holder and acting on his behalf Section 48 (c) Section 48 A fine not less five thousand rupees and not exceeding six hundred thousand rupees ,or in default of payment of such fine, to an imprisonment for a term which may extend to a period of three months.
Other offenses Section 50 Section 50 A fine not less one thousand rupees and not exceeding fifteen thousand rupees ,or in default of payment of such fine, to an imprisonment for a term which may extend to a period of six months.

What are the Offenses committed by Excise License holders and the respective penalties?

Offenses committed in breach of any condition stipulated in any license or any general conditions common to all licenses by any licensee, are known as technical crimes. With respect to such technical crimes, license, permit or pass issued to the said licensee can either be s suspended or cancelled. How ever, said licensee is able to compensate the offense committed by him/her in place of suspension or cancellation of license, permit or pass issued to him/her.In such instances, a composition fee not exceeding the maximum of Rs.500,000 can be imposed pertain to the offense committed.



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