The UAE’s Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has completed the necessary measures needed to implement a new marking scheme for tobacco products on January 1, it was announced on Wednesday.
The new scheme includes electronic monitoring of all kinds of imported, produced and locally traded cigarettes, from production to consumer, to ensure compliance with excise tax payments.
According to the FTA, the rules will be gradually extended to cover all tobacco products.
In a statement, the FTA urged tobacco suppliers to carefully comply with the new regulations to avoid being penalised or prevented from operating until they fully comply with the system.
The digital monitoring of tobacco products will be facilitated by a digital seal which will be installed on their packaging and registered in an FTA database.
Khalid Ali Al Bustani, the director-general of the FTA, said that the new marking will be issued for purchase orders by manufacturers and importers as of January 1. They will be required to apply for the digital stamps from the operator of the scheme for installation on the tobacco packaging before the products leave the factory to ensure the payment of the excise tax.
From May 1, the important of cigarettes without the digital stamps will be banned, while from August 1 it will be forbidden to sell or trade cigarettes that do not carry the stamp.
"The UAE is the first country in the region to use such a system, which employs sophisticated methods to promote accuracy and effectiveness,” Al Bustani said. “This system is an innovative solution to support and increase the efficiency of inspections and control at customs outlets and markets and prevents the sale of non-compliant products.”
Al Bustani added that the FTA has held several meetings with representatives of tobacco companies and traders to review the plan and its requirement.
To apply for digital stamps, manufacturers or suppliers need to download an application from the FTA website and send a request to email@example.com to receive a user name and password. The manufacturer will then need to access the system, which includes a “manage orders” section where the digital stamp applicant will be able to complete the application.For all the latest retail news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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