GAZT bans sale of cigarette packs not bearing tax stamps

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RIYADH — The General Authority of Zakat and Tax (GAZT) has announced on Sunday that it would start imposing a ban on the sale and circulation of cigarette packs that do not bear valid and activated tax stamps, as of Nov. 18, 2019, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported Sunday.

GAZT further said: “This decision is based on the provisions of the Executive Regulations of the Selective Tax Law related to tax stamps within the sphere of the Unified Agreement on Selective Tax for GCC States.”

A tax stamp is defined as a “distinctive mark” in the form of a physical label or symbol containing encrypted digital data, placed on selective commodity products and activated electronically. Producers and importers of selective goods have to follow this system before displaying them for consumption.

The Authority said that by implementing the tax stamp regulation they would enhance the imposition of the supervisory controls on collecting taxes on selective commodities being imported to the Kingdom.

The measure will also boost the capability to verify whether the selective commodities have entered the Kingdom legally or not. The objective is to ensure collection of all due taxes on such a commodity.

The taxes fall under the category of selective taxes on products deemed harmful to public health. The application of tax stamps ensures that the standards of compliance set out in the WHO Convention on Tobacco Control are met.

GAZT has confirmed that the consumer can verify the validity of the tax stamps via the smartphone app “Tahaqqaq” (Verify), which the Authority will launch simultaneously with the implementation of the tax stamp regulation, such that the user can scan the barcode on the cigarette pack using “Tahaqqaq” (Verify) app.

The General Authority of Zakat and Tax has called upon all consumers to report on illegal products via its official website gazt.gov.sa; the Unified Call Center number 19993 or the “Tahaqqaq” (Verify) smartphone app.

It is noteworthy that the implementation of tax stamps on tobacco products will be extended later to include other tobacco products, like shisha (hubble-bubble), and then to soft drinks and energy drinks subject to selective tax in the Kingdom.

GAZT announced earlier that 100 percent tax would be levied on e-cigarettes and products used in them, and a 50 percent tax on sugared drinks. — SPA


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