Smugglers of selective goods face double fines


Saudi Gazette

RIYADH — The Saudi Customs has referred smugglers of tobacco and other similar products to the General Authority of Zakat and Tax (GAZT) to initiate legal procedures against them after they received the smuggled goods through ports after paying penalty.

Essa Al-Essa, advisor to the commission’s governor, said that there is a double penalty against smugglers between customs and GAZT.

He pointed out that there is an understanding between them regarding smugglers of goods such as tobacco and other simlar products such as soft drinks as commodities subject to selective Value Added Tax (VAT), Eqtisadiah reported.

GAZT confirmed to have captured 4,794 violators of VAT in various regions of the Kingdom during the first 100 days, that is, since the beginning of January. In a statement, GAZT said 21 percent of the total violations were in the Makkah area, 18 percent in Riyadh, 11 percent in the Eastern Province, and the remaining 50 percent VAT violations in the rest of the Kingdom.

Hamoud Al-Harbi, official spokesperson of GAZT, said that since the introduction of the tax on Jan. 1 this year, the field teams of GAZT have carried out 12,578 visits in various regions of the Kingdom, including commercial centers, hospitals, pharmacies, gold shops, electronics stores, and others.

“Through these field trips, the authority seeks to ensure proper and smooth implementation of VAT procedures, thereby reducing the violations that have been made on the basis of communications received from consumers and through the ongoing inspection team visits to facilities,” Al-Harbi said.

“After 100 days of the implementation of the tax, we confirm that we have noted positive response to the authority’s VAT laws and its executive regulations.

Most of the establishments registered in VAT have shown a high level of readiness to ensure smooth application of the tax, based on a number of procedures, including training of its employees, work to harmonize their accounting and information technology systems associated with tax operations, in addition to activating records management systems to save documents in the specified forms.

The majority of violations monitored by the authority were non-registration in the tax system, non-payment of the due tax during the specified period, failure to submit tax returns within the specified period, issuance of tax invoices that do not contain statutory data for tax purposes and tax collection of more than 5 percent,” he added.

The General Authority of Zakat and Tax called on consumers to use the Smart Value Added Tax application, which allows them to know if their business is already registered with the value added tax and report violative institutions.