Cigarettes with no Red Digital Tax Stamps Prohibited in the UAE

The use and sale of cigarettes in the UAE has further been regulated in the country, as the Federal Tax Authority recently announced that the sale and possession of all types of cigarettes not bearing ‘Digital Tax Stamps’ will be prohibited across UAE markets starting August 1 (Thursday).

Earlier this year, the government through the FTA has introduced an initiative known as the ‘Marking Tobacco and Tobacco Products Scheme’, which aims to further regulate the market, protect consumers from low-quality products, combat tax evasion, and ensure that the Excise Tax due on products concerned has been settled even before they reach consumers.

Selling Cigarettes without Red Digital Tax Stamps Prohibited in the UAE Starting August 1
Credits: FTA

FTA Bans Selling of Cigarettes without Red Digital Tax Stamps Starting August

In a press statement released last July 31 (Wednesday), the FTA explained that two types of Digital Tax Stamps were approved, the first of which is ‘Red’ and meant to be placed on the packaging of tobacco products (including cigarettes) sold at all local markets, as well as at duty-free in arrival lounges. The second type is ‘Green’ and earmarked for tobacco products sold at duty-free in departure lounges, as shared in a report by WAM.

The said initiative is part of the timeline set for the ‘Marking Tobacco and Tobacco Products Scheme’, which went into effect at the beginning of 2019.

The scheme aims to to electronically track cigarettes packs from the production facility and until they reach the end-consumer as per Cabinet Decision No. 42 of 2018 on Marking Tobacco and Tobacco Products and FTA Decision No. 03 of 2018 on Implementing the Marking Tobacco and Tobacco Products Scheme.

Selling Cigarettes without Red Digital Tax Stamps Prohibited in the UAE Starting August 1

In line with this, the FTA called on to all consumers to check for Digital Tax Stamps on the packaging of cigarettes they buy and inform competent authorities of any violations, noting that the Scheme serves to stiffen controls on the market, ensure compliance with international best practices, verify that tax obligations have been met, and guarantee the quality and safety of tobacco products in the UAE.

According to FTA Director-General Khalid Ali Al Bustani, reaffirmed that the Scheme is part of the Authority’s strategy to prevent tax evasion, protect consumer rights and preserve the environment using advanced, efficient, and accurate electronic control systems to support the implementation of the relevant legislation, which clearly outlined obligations for both the Authority and taxpayers, and set procedures to prevent the sale of harmful, lower-quality products.

Al Bustani added that the timeline for the Scheme allowed cigarette traders and producers sufficient time to prepare for the new system.

This goes out not only to those who are concerned with the sale, production, and distribution of cigarettes but even to those who use these products on a regular basis, if at all.

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