27/12/2018 07:38 AST

The Federal Tax Authority, FTA, has announced the completion of all preparations required to implement its ‘Marking Tobacco and Tobacco Products’ scheme.

Entering into effect on 1st January 2019, the scheme involves the electronic monitoring of all types of imported, produced and locally-traded cigarettes, from production to consumer, to ensure full compliance with payment of excise tax. It will be gradually extended to cover all tobacco products.

In a press statement issued on Wednesday, the FTA stressed the need for tobacco suppliers to comply with the regulations to avoid being penalised and prevented from practicing their duties until they comply fully with the system, which supports inspection and control at customs outlets and markets to prevent the sale of contraband products and that have not met their due tax.

The monitoring of the tobacco products will be facilitated by a stamp (digital seal) which will be installed on their packaging and registered in the FTA database. This stamp will include electronically-recorded information that can be read by a special device through which the payment of the tax on these products is verified.

Khalid Ali Al Bustani, Director-General of the FTA, said that as of 1st January 2019, the marking will be issued for purchase orders by manufacturers and importers of all types of cigarettes. They will be required to apply for the digital stamps from the operator of the scheme (as approved by the authority) for installation on the tobacco packaging before the products leave the factory to ensure the payment of excise tax on tobacco products sold throughout the UAE.

The Director-General pointed out that as of 1st May 2019 the import of all kinds of cigarettes to the country without the digital stamps will be banned.

From 1st August 2019, all types of cigarettes that do not carry the stamp will not be allowed to be sold in the UAE, with retail stores banned from selling cigarettes that do not have the digital stamps. Al Bustani explained that according to the Cabinet Decision No. 42 of 2018 on Tobacco Products, a penalty will be levied on any person who trades or carries specified excise products that are not marked with a digital seal.

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