The General Authority for Zakat and Tax has confirmed that it will ban the importation of cigarette packs that do not carry valid and original tax stamps in cooperation with the General Authority of Customs starting from Friday August 23 2019.
Such decision is based on the provisions of the Implementing Regulations of the Excise Tax Regulation relating to tax stamps within the framework of the Unified Agreement on Excise Tax of the GCC.
A tax stamp is defined as a "distinguishing mark" in the form of a physical label or symbol containing encrypted digital data, placed on excise commodity products and is activated electronically. It is ordered, printed, and tracked via a tracking program that binds selective producers and importers to comply with specified standards, to allow them to import such goods for consumption.
In late May, GAZT called on importers of tobacco products in the Kingdom to apply for tax stamps made available through its website GAZT.GOV.SA. The first steps in applying tax stamps commenced on cigarette packs imported to the Kingdom from 31, and all uncommitted importers will be banned from November 18 2019.
Implementing the tax stamps supports controls measures imposed on the collection of the excise commodity tax and strengthen the ability to verify the safety of such goods legally and ensure collecting all taxes due on such types of products. It also ensures that the standards of compliance set out in the WHO Convention on Tobacco Control are met.
It is worth mentioning that the implementation of tax stamps will expand later to include Mu‘assel and other tobacco products, followed by soft drinks and energy drinks subject to excise tax in Saudi Arabia.