Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 26 May 2019

Packets of cigarettes without official tax stamp will soon be banned in UAE

It will be illegal from next month to import tobacco products not bearing a digital tax stamp

The Federal Tax Authority is introducing a requirement for all cigarettes sold in the UAE to have a digital tax stamp. Silvia Razgova / The National
The Federal Tax Authority is introducing a requirement for all cigarettes sold in the UAE to have a digital tax stamp. Silvia Razgova / The National

Cigarette packets that do not carry official digital tax stamps will soon be outlawed in the UAE as part of a government crackdown on rogue tobacco traders.

No cigarettes will be allowed to be sold, imported or produced anywhere in the Emirates without the stamp from August 1.

Before then, it will also be illegal to import cigarettes into the country that do not have the stamp from May 1, the Federal Tax Authority has announced.

No cigarettes will be allowed to be sold, imported or produced anywhere in the UAE without the stamp from August 1.
No cigarettes will be allowed to be sold, imported or produced anywhere in the UAE without the stamp from August 1.

It is estimated that up to a third of cigarettes sold in the UAE do not meet legal requirements.

All cigarettes produced or imported into the UAE must have the tax stamp with end-to-end traceability.

The move is part of a plan that was revealed last year by the tax authority.

“Marks will be placed on the packaging of tobacco products and registered in the FTA’s database,” said a tax authority spokesman, speaking at the launch of the scheme last year.

“The marks contain data that can be read using special devices. The scheme facilitates inspection and control procedures at customs ports and markets to prohibit the sale of products where taxes have not been collected.”

Some products, referred to as “white cigarettes”, are made legally in factories but are smuggled into the country without the tax being paid and fall short of required standards in many cases.

Tobacco suppliers who do not abide by the new laws will face hefty fines or be banned from operating their businesses.

Updated: April 16, 2019 11:40 AM

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