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Preparations Ahead of Ban on Importing Waterpipe Tobacco and Electrically Heated Cigarettes without Digital Tax Stamps Boosted By Federal Tax Authority
The decision seeks to protect the environment and public health, and prevent the supply of subpar products to local markets. The Authority held the fourth workshop to introduce Persons involved or affected by the Marking Tobacco and Tobacco Products Scheme’ to its procedures, regulations, and role in protecting consumers and combatting tax evasions.

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has ramped up its preparations in advance of enforcing the ban on importing any kind of waterpipe tobacco (known in Arabic as Muassel) and electrically heated cigarette plugs except they carry the Digital Tax Stamps as of March 1, 2020.

The ban marks phase two of the Marking Tobacco and Tobacco Products Scheme, which seeks to guard consumers from commercial fraud and low-quality products, in addition to combating tax evasion.

In a press statement issued, the FTA mentioned that, as part of its plan to increase awareness among all Persons affected by or involved in enforcing the Scheme, the Authority held the fourth workshop to introduce producers, importers, and distributors of tobacco and tobacco products to the Schemes procedures and objectives. The statement went on to note that as of June 1, 2020, it will be prohibited to supply, transfer, or stockpile waterpipe tobacco or electrically heated cigarettes that do not carry the Digital Tax Stamps in local markets.

FTA Director General His Excellency Khalid Ali Al Bustani opened the workshop, which brought collectively stakeholders from both local markets and free zones, as well as numerous FTA officials and experts from the company operating the system.

The Authority explained that the workshop is part of its efforts to establish and keep contact with representatives from the sector, as the operating company representatives the sketch of action and requirements for enforcing the Scheme over the upcoming period.

H.E. Al Bustani asserted that the Marking Tobacco and Tobacco Products Scheme is an innovative solution for combatting tax evasion and safeguarding consumer’s health from subpar products. The FTA Director General urged Persons subject to Excise Tax in the in the tobacco manufacturing and supply sector to comply with Cabinet Decision No. (42) of 2018 and FTA Decision No. (2) of 2019 on Marking Tobacco and Tobacco Products. The Digital Tax Stamps facilitate inspection and manipulate procedures; it permits tobacco products to be digitally tracked from the manufacturing facility and until they reach the last consumer to make sure they are compliant with standards and that all due Excise Taxes have been paid.

The workshop is part of the Federal Tax Authoritys efforts to establish direct contact with producers, importers, and distributors of waterpipe tobacco and electrically heated cigarettes, among different stakeholders from the sector and representatives from the system operator, H.E. Al Bustani noted, including that this workshop was preceded by various conferences and regular communication with relevant entities, which includes Departments of Economic Development, local customs agencies, and representatives from relevant companies and the system operator to make sure systems meet all essential requirements, and coordinate among all parties involved to make sure the efficient and easy roll-out of the system.

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