Dubai court orders men to pay Dh655,000 fine for importing cigarettes without paying tax

All packets sold in the UAE should have 'paid tax' marked with red stickers to stop smuggling of tobacco products

Two men in Dubai were sentenced to jail and fined Dh655,000 for evading taxes on 65,000 packets of cigarettes. AFP
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A court in Dubai has ordered two men to pay a Dh655,000 fine for importing cigarettes without paying tax.

The incident happened in January last year but the Dubai Court of Misdemeanours gave its verdict this week.

The men from India were caught trying to smuggle more than 65,000 packets of cigarettes from Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone to avoid paying customs.

The incident came to light after a Federal Customs Authority officer received a tip-off.

“I received information that an Asian pair were trying to smuggle products without paying their taxes,” he told judges.

“After verifying the information, the Indian suspects were identified as a driver and a representative of a private company. The shipment was registered under the company's name.”

The driver was put under surveillance and the products were located in a warehouse in the Jebel Ali Free Zone.

The driver was caught after he loaded the cigarette boxes into a minibus and was trying to make his way out of the premises.

“The offenders intended to get the shipment out through the employees' gate without paying taxes that amounted to Dh655,000 [the amount equal to the fine],” the officer said.

Officers at the Jebel Ali Police Station intercepted the minibus in Al Mankhool area on January 25.

The company’s representative who was outside the country is still at large.

Neither attended the court hearing despite being legally notified.

They were found guilty and sentenced to one month in prison and ordered to jointly pay the fine. The verdict was issued in their absence.

What kind of taxes are levied on tobacco products?

According to Al Tamimi law firm, the UAE Customs authorities have always imposed and continue to impose a surcharge duty that amounts to 100 per cent of the tobacco products' import value.

In 2007, to further reduce the consumption of tobacco, the UAE added to this duty excise tax, which amounted to an additional 100 per cent of the tobacco product's sale value.

A Value Added Tax of 5 per cent is also added to the retail price of cigarettes.

All cigarette packets sold in the UAE should have 'paid tax' marked with red stickers.

This applies to all legally imported and locally manufactured tobacco products.

Products that enter the UAE to be reexported, and all products which are manufactured in the Emirates but will be exported and sold outside the country, are exempt from the tax label.

Updated: October 03, 2022, 12:23 PM