What is denatured alcohol?
Denatured alcohol is alcohol to which a substance has been added that makes the mixture unfit for human consumption.
There are two types of denatured alcohol:
- completely denatured
- partially denatured.
Completely Denatured Alcohol (CDA)
Completely denatured alcohol is alcohol that has had a specific formulation added to make it unfit for human consumption. In 2013, the European Union (EU) introduced a common formulation to completely denature alcohol for all EU Member States. CDA is transported throughout the EU under the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS), using a simplified documentation system (electronic simplified administrative document).
When CDA has been completely denatured in accordance with the requirements of another Member State where:
- the CDA has been released for consumption
- the Member State's requirements have been notified to the European Commission and accepted
the CDA may be entitled to relief from Alcohol Products Tax.
Partially Denatured Alcohol (PDA)
Partially denatured alcohol is alcohol that has had a denaturant added but does not use the formulation specified for CDA. It is still considered unfit for human consumption. It must travel under EMCS with an electronic administrative document.
EU Member States may approve these formulations as they see fit. Member States can check any PDA arriving into their country to ensure it qualifies for a relief from Alcohol Products Tax.
Traders who wish to denature alcohol, or distribute or receive denatured alcohol, must be authorised to do so by Revenue. For further information about the authorisation process, please see Setting up an excise business.