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Wed 27 Mar 2019 05:18 PM

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First digitally stamped cigarette packs arrive in the UAE

Federal Tax Authority says packs can be electronically tracked to verify that excise tax due has been paid

First digitally stamped cigarette packs arrive in the UAE
A man organises cigarette packs at a shop in in Ras Al Khaimah. (KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)

The UAE's Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has announced that the first batches of cigarette packs bearing digital tax stamps have reached UAE markets.

The packs can be electronically tracked to verify that excise tax due has been paid.

The Authority said that, as of May 1, importing cigarette packs not bearing the digital tax stamps will be banned, while selling or distributing unmarked cigarette packs is set to be prohibited as of August 1.

As of January, the digital tax stamps became available to order from the system operator and to place on cigarettes packs before leaving the factory to hit the shelves across local markets.

FTA director general Khalid Ali Al Bustani noted that concerned businesses around the country have overwhelmingly taken the initiative to order the stamps and register them in the database.

The stamps carry digital information that can be read with a special device, allowing inspectors to verify that excise taxes due on all locally traded cigarettes has been settled.

The FTA urged tobacco suppliers to comply with the scheme to avoid penalties, which may include suspending their business operations until full compliance is achieved.

The system facilitates inspections and control at customs checkpoints and local markets to prevent the sale of smuggled and non-tax compliant products, as well as to combat commercial fraud.

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