Stage set for new excise tax roll-out

MUSCAT:  The electronic system for registration of excise taxpayers is ready and it will be implemented from June 15. “The integrated electronic system helps the tax payee with registration and licenses, payment of tax or its suspension and submission of tax returns,” said Sulaiman bin Salim al Aadi, Director-General of Survey and Tax Agreements (Head of the Excise Tax Working Group) at the Secretariat-General for Taxation (SGT). In a statement to Oman News Agency, he said that the SGT has drafted the legislative requirements such as the executive regulation, which is expected to be issued within a short time as the law granted a period of six months to issue the executive regulation.
“The working group has completed these requirements and is completing the remaining procedures required for automated link with relevant government agencies to activate the systems in a timely manner according to the target timelines,” he said.
The working group has prepared a guide to explain the implementation processes and procedures for taxpayers, and a brief guide on the frequently asked questions expected from public. Both guides are available on the SGT website.
According to him, special telephone numbers have been allocated to respond to queries or clarifications of consumers and businesses about the application of the tax and the mechanism
of collection.
“SGT is working to the maximum extent possible to provide necessary support and awareness to businesspersons as there is a team of staff, distributed in all governorates, working on the field to raise awareness on the excise tax, its mechanism of implementation and obligations arising from such tax,” he said. The group will conduct public seminars in some governorates to emphasise the procedures followed by SGT in the implementation of the law and to highlight the simplified mechanisms for taxpayers.

This is in order to submit the returns electronically and respond to inquiries of businesspersons and consumers.
The head of the working group said that business sectors should maintain constant contact with relevant stakeholders in SGT to monitor developments on the mechanisms of implementing excise tax and identify other requirements that may arise when the executive regulation is issued or when explanatory queries are made in relation to guides.
He said that the law stated that the excise goods are specified in a decision by the Minister Responsible for Financial Affairs after the approval of the Council of Ministers.
The goods approved by the Council of Ministers are five commodities as stated in the Unified Gulf Agreement, with the same rates imposed for each, he added.
Energy drinks, tobacco and its derivatives, alcohol, and pork will be charged 100 per cent and soft drinks 50 per cent of the retail price.
On the penalties prescribed by law in case of non-compliance with the regulations of excise tax, he pointed out that SGT has the authority to carry out investigation on taxpayers and to grant some employees of SGT the status of judicial control officers in order to implement the provisions of the law and the relevant decisions, in addition to impose penalties in case of any violation.
“The law stipulates a punishment of three years’ imprisonment and a fine of RO 20,000 in case of tax evasion. SGT is committed to continue providing support and guidance to assist taxpayers in order to enable them to comply with the provisions of excise tax,” he said.
He pointed out that the law requires the registration for excise tax by importers and producers of excise goods, those who release excise goods for consumption and holder of excise goods of which the due tax is unpaid, as well as those who are authorised by SGT to establish a taxable warehouse.
He also pointed out that everyone in possession of excise goods must file a transitional excise tax return only once for the stock of excise goods on the day prior to the date of implementation of the excise tax, and should refer to the implementation guide for the method of registration and to find out the transitional provisions. He added that the guides are available on SGT website (www.taxoman.om).
In addition, the taxpayers should keep records and statements that enable the SGT tax inspectors to verify the information contained in the tax returns.