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Myanmar govt takes steps to legalise foreign alcohol imports

Businesses dealing with the imports of foreign alcohol are required to obtain a government A1 tax stamp on products imported before a ban on foreign liquor was removed in May this year, the Internal Revenue Department (IRD) announced on August 17.

The stamping of illegal foreign alcohols will be carried out as a One Stop Service during the month of September and businesses should submit a declaration form at their respective township revenue departments from August 21 to 28. Forms submitted after August 28 will not be accepted and action will be taken against those found selling illegal alcohol during the month of September, the IRD said.

Starting from October 1, action will be taken against those possessing, storing, distributing and the retail and wholesale of foreign alcohol without the A1 tax
stamps in accordance with the Special Goods Tax Law.

“If everyone pays taxes, it would be fair and the government will also receive more revenue,” said U Soe Lwin, chair of the Myanmar Liquor Association. “We will make a list of the imported alcohols in the market and stamp them to be able to compete with future imports. The items imported from October onwards will need to be stamped as well to be fair,” he said. The Ministry of Commerce (MOC) permitted the legal import of alcohol in its Notification 38/2020 issued on May 25 2020. This is the second instance of the ban being relaxed, after the MOC in 2015 allowed local importers to import foreign wine only. Notification 38 presented a way of controlling and the preventing illicit imports of liquor through the black market.

Following the release of Notification 38, the General Administration Department had been drafting an Excise Law to regulate the distribution and sale of foreign
liquors within the country.

The new guidelines are intended to rein in illicit trade, raise tax revenue and improve consumer safety, according to the ministry’s notification. The liberalisation is also expected to draw more direct foreign investment in the beverage industry.

However, the declining number of foreign visitors during COVID-19 has caused demand for foreign alcohol in the market to fall in recent months.

As such, the association has asked the government to retain the special goods taxes for alcohol at 2019 levels, as the rates have been increased under the 2020 Union
Taxation Bill, said U Soe Lwin.

According to the bill, alcohol priced under K15,000 will be taxed between K199 and K 14,428 per liter and 60pc of the value for products priced over K 15,001 per
liter.

In 2019, alcohol priced under K15,000 will be taxed between K170 and K14,001 per liter and 60pc of the value for products priced over K 15,001 per liter. –

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Source : Myanmar Times

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