New Tax Sticker Aims To Prevent Illegal Imports

A more sophisticated tax stamp for three categories of luxury goods —wine, watches and clocks, and smartphones—will be issued on January 1 as the Finance Ministry seeks to raise revenue and prevent counterfeiting of the old paper stamps.

The new stamps feature invisible text and logo, microtext and a “secret mark,” according to a statement released on Tuesday by the ministry’s general department of customs and excise. The department will require the stamps on all wine, and on timepieces and smartphones on which the import taxes would run $50 or more.

Goods not affixed with the new customs tax stamp “will be considered illegal,” the custom department’s statement says.

The new tax stamp’s special features mean it will be difficult for tax avoiders and counterfeiters to duplicate, making importers reluctant to try to avoid paying taxes for items in the three product categories, said Kun Nhem, director- general of the customs department.

“We will force them to pay the tax,” he said. “We hope that through this action, tax payments will be improved and the collection of taxes will be more effective.”

“Our officials will go down to check and if we find products are stickered with the new stamps, it means that customs taxes are already paid for those products,” Mr. Nhem said.

“If we find, for example, any bottle of wine without the stamp, it means it is smuggled and so we would be able to check for taxation documents,” he said. “And if we have sufficient evidence, we will implement the law on customs, as it is a crime.”

Old unused tax stamps are to be returned to the ministry’s department of administration’s accounting and finance bureau “for arrangement according to determined procedures,” according to the statement. No further details were released.

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