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Beer, Tobacco Taxes Set to Rise

Alcohol, cigarette and tobacco products, which are in a list of 16 special products, will see a rise in tax in 2015-16 fiscal year which starts in April, according to the new amendments in the Union Taxation Bill.

According to the bill, tax rates for cigarettes will be raised from 100 percent to 120 percent, tobacco products will see a rise from 50 percent to 60 percent.

The previous Union Taxation Bill 2014 imposed 100 percent tax on tobacco, Virginia blend, cheroot, piped tobacco, tobacco-based products for beetle quid, and 50 percent tax on alcohol and beer products.

However, health experts pointed out that the new tax rates are relatively low and will not have any effect on producers while the consumers will continue to bear the negative effects of these products.

“The issue needs to be closely studied before we can conclude whether the rate is high or low. But I expect the rate to be increased higher than the new level in the future,” Dr Than Sein, head of Public Health Foundation, told Myanmar Business Today.

The lawmakers still haven’t agreed on the final rates and it is not clear if internal revenue and excise tax laws will be applied parallel to the Union Taxation Law, Dr Than Sein said.

Myanmar has signed WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) but has been ranked the lowest among ASEAN member in implementing the provisions of the convention, according to surveys.

Under the new bill, the above mentioned products will be subject to 5 percent commercial tax based on the sale price if they are locally produced or the CIF price if they are imported.

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