HM Revenue & Customs is bringing in a new online system designed to reduce excise fraud.

The tax and customs office said traders will have to move to the online system from 1 January 2011.

The new system for traders of "duty suspended excise goods" will have to use the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) and not the current paper system from that date. The current paper system for recording the movement of excise goods will end on 31 December 2010, for most movements of duty suspended excise goods from UK excise warehouses and production premises.

Kerrie Spendiff, HM Revenue & Customs deputy director excise and customs, policy and processes, said: “The new system will improve the efficiency of document processing and control of the movement of excise duty suspension goods throughout the European Union and in the UK.

"EMCS will reduce the scope for excise fraud as it will allow member states, traders and HMRC to monitor movements online in real time."

She said it was important for excise traders to enrol early onto the new system to avoid delays to their transactions.

To use the new system, traders must register online at HMRC. After they have registered successfully, HMRC will provide a user ID and activation PIN code.Traders must then activate EMCS within 28 days.

Using EMCS will be compulsory for all movements of duty suspended excise goods in the European Union and in the UK - except for intra-UK movements of energy products and certain intra-UK movements of alcohol and tobacco.

From 20 December, traders can try out dispatching goods on EMCS (for intra UK and some other member states ), but they must continue to mainly use the paper system until 31 December.

Meanwhile, HMRC's separate but principal real time system, for pay as you earn tax, is reportedly delayed. The controversial system may not go live until 2014, it is understood.