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Oman Tax Authority affirms plan for launch of second phase of Digital Tax Stamp scheme

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Ahead of the rollout of the second phase of its Digital Tax Stamp initiative, the Tax Authority of the Sultanate of Oman has urged importers of tobacco products and spirits to obtain excise tax stamps from it to be supplied to their overseas principals for affixing on their goods before they are shipped into the country.

The scheme, which came into effect on June 30, 2022, aims to strengthen regulation of the import, trade and sale of excisable products, as well as optimise the collection of excise tax on these goods.

Under laws that came into force in mid-2019, Oman began levying an excise tax ranging from 50 to 100 per cent on a range of merchandise, notably cigarettes and tobacco products, alcohols and spirits, carbonated and energy drinks, and pork products. The list of excisable goods was broadened in October 2020 to include a wide range of sugar-sweetened drinks, canned juices and other ready-to-drink beverages.

By introducing digital stamps – also known as digital tagging – Oman’s authorities hope to, on the one hand, clamp down on any illicit import and sale of excisable goods in the country, and on the other, ensure that the excise tax payable on these products is fully recovered in a streamlined fashion.

“Starting from September 19, 2022, importers and local manufacturers will be able to request digital stamps to be sent to manufacturers to put on molasses and other tobacco products,” the Tax Authority announced in a recent post.

The announcement comes ahead of the Authority’s October 14, 2022 deadline requiring importers and distributors to ensure that imports of cigarettes and tobacco products must be digitally tagged as a perquisite for their entry into Oman. This deadline marks the rollout of the second phase of the Digital Tax Stamps initiative.

In the third phase, which comes into effect from February 1, 2023, all tobacco products will be barred from import, distribution or sale within the country if they lack the prescribed digital tax stamps. The digital tagging programme is proposed to be expanded in future phases to cover other excisable products.

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