Imports of cigarettes into the UAE that do not bear digital tax stamps will be prohibited from Wednesday, according to the Federal Tax Authority (FTA).
The authority added in a statement that it will be illegal to sell any unmarked cigarette packs in local markets from August 1.
The step is part of the timeline for the Marking Tobacco and Tobacco Products Scheme, which went into effect on January 1, and allows for the electronic tracking of cigarette packs from production until they reach end consumers.
The stamps ensure full compliance with excise tax obligations, said the FTA which added that it has been receiving a large volume of orders for stamps from manufacturers and importers.
The first batches of FTA-approved digital tax stamps reached cigarette suppliers around the country earlier this month.
FTA director general Khalid Ali Al Bustani said the scheme will be gradually expanded to cover all tobacco products and support the authority’s efforts to collect taxes, combat tax evasion and protect consumers against low-quality, contraband products.
He added: “Phase two of the scheme is scheduled to be launched in the last quarter of 2019, where it will be expanded to cover tobacco products used in shisha and electrically heated cigarette rolls, whether imported or locally produced.”