Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
The second phase of the Marking Tobacco and Tobacco Products Scheme is set to commence from today (Sunday), with the scheme aiming to utilise the latest digital solutions to boost the efficiency of tax control systems and, in turn, support the UAE’s transition to a knowledge-based economy in line with the National Agenda.
The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) reaffirmed its decision that, commencing today, the import of any waterpipe tobacco and electrically-heated tobacco products not bearing a Digital Tax Stamp (DTS) will be banned. As of June 1, 2020, the import, transport, storage and possession of such unmarked excise goods will be prohibited in all UAE local markets.
Phase one of the Marking Tobacco and Tobacco Products Scheme, which came into force on January 1, 2019, yielded promising results in marking all types of imported, and locally manufactured and traded cigarette packets with DTSs. The FTA directed that such products be marked before leaving the manufacturing facilities to indicate the payment of the applicable excise tax across the UAE.
As of May 1, 2019, the FTA issued a ban on importing all types of unmarked cigarette packets into the UAE. Following that on August 1, the sale of cigarette packets not bearing a DTS was banned across all local markets.
Since the launch of Cabinet Decision No. (42) of 2018 on Marking Tobacco and Tobacco Products, the FTA rolled out a comprehensive scheme to ensure the seamless implementation of the decision. The scheme enables producers, importers and distributors of tobacco and tobacco products to purchase DTSs from the system operator through the FTA website, to place them on the packaging of their products before they are released in local markets. The FTA called on all concerned entities to comply with these regulations to avoid penalties.
The FTA launched an awareness campaign for the scheme targeting stakeholders in the UAE. The campaign included a workshop conducted by the system operator to familiarise the producers, importers and distributors of tobacco and tobacco products with the necessary requirements. The FTA also held several meetings with relevant entities, including departments of economic development and local customs agencies, to strengthen its partnerships with all stakeholders across the government and private sectors, as well as ensure the successful implementation of the tax scheme.
The UAE is the first country in the region to adopt such digital solutions to protect consumers from commercial fraud and low-quality products, mitigate health and environmental risks and combat tax evasion. The scheme enhances the FTA’s ability collect taxes, in cooperation with relevant entities, through standardised regulatory procedures that protect the rights of taxable persons and ensures their compliance, as well as boosts competitiveness and transparency across all of FTA’s dealings. The Federal Tax Authority has announced recently that the Value Added Tax (VAT) Recovery Self-Service Kiosks for Tourists scheme has been expanded to be available at major shopping malls and hotels, in addition to the existing ones at air, land, and maritime entry and exit ports across the UAE.
The expansion aims to provide additional services to tourists, enhancing the UAE’s status as a leading destination on the international tourism map. Planet - the company authorised by the FTA to operate the electronic system for the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme - debuted nine self-service kiosks in stage one of implementing the plan, setting them up at multiple shopping malls and hotels. The kiosks are equipped with state-of-the-art technology allowing them to fully process VAT refund requests for tourists.