Excise tax stamps being placed on imported liquor, cigarette packs

On Thursday, November 16, 2017, Custom Officers of the Guyana Revenue Authority placed the first set of Excise Tax Stamps on imported alcohol at Kings Liquor Outlet, as part of a new anti-smuggling campaign.

A release from the Guyana Revenue Authority today said that this process has been implemented to ensure that all duties and taxes were paid on imported alcohol and tobacco and to verify that these products are legal.

All importers and retailers of alcohol and tobacco products are required to stamp each bottle of alcohol (except beers) and cigarette packs.

Stamped alcohol (GRA photo)

The release said that GRA has teamed up with Canadian Bank Note (CBN) to reduce the amount of alcohol and tobacco smuggled through Guyana’s porous borders. According to Deputy Commissioner of Excise Stamp and Environmental Levy, Rohan Beekhoo, the stamp is clearly identifiable with a host of security features such as metallic gold inks and heavy ink deposits inherent to security printing. Beekhoo pointed out that officers will be equipped with hand-held scanners to verify whether or not the stamp is authentic, if it was applied to the right product and whether all duties and taxes were paid.

A customs officer demonstrating how the stamp is affixed (GRA photo)

The self-adhesive tobacco and alcohol stamp costs $8 and $16 per stamp respectively. The release said that Custom Officers have started verification checks.  The officers will be requesting documents and supporting evidence to corroborate that the items were legally imported. Once they are satisfied that the full payment of taxes was made, payment for the stamps will be facilitated at GRA Headquarters.

GRA said that failure to pay the relevant duties and taxes and thereafter neglecting to stamp the products will incur penalties ranging from 300% of the tax-value to five years’ incarceration.

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