-Stiff penalties outlined for non-complaint importers/retailers
Following the launch of its Excise Tax Stamp programme a few weeks ago, on Thursday, November 16, 2017, Custom Officers of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) placed the first set of Excise Tax Stamps on imported alcohol at Kings Liquor Outlet.
According to the GRA, 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 and safe to consume.
As such, all “importers and retailers of alcohol and tobacco products are required to stamp each bottle of alcohol (excluding beers) and cigarette packs” the Authority outlined.
The GRA says it has teamed up with the Canadian Bank Note (CBN) to reduce the amount of alcohol and tobacco smuggled through Guyana’s porous borders. The CBN has committed to designing, producing and shipping stamps to Guyana.
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, heavy ink deposits inherent to the security printing processes, etc.
Additionally, 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.
GRA in a statement posited that the self-adhesive tobacco and alcohol stamps will incur a cost of $8 and $16 per stamp respectively.
“Custom Officers have started verification checks to businesses, importers and persons selling these products to determine existing inventories before beginning the stamping process. 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 – Cashier counter” said the GRA.
Moreover, the Revenue Authority cautioned that failure to pay the relevant duties and taxes and neglecting to stamp the products “will incur penalties ranging from 300 [per cent] of the tax-value to five years’ incarceration.”
The GRA is urging all importers to register with the agency and indicate the amount of stamps required.