Taxmen crack down on fake excise stickers

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Mar 31, 2018-

Fake excise duty stickers are being used rampantly on alcoholic beverages despite government efforts to stamp them out by launching machine readable stickers and distributing them online. 

The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) uncovered the use of counterfeit stickers during a swoop on two dozen distilleries and dealers. According to the IRD, it has sealed these factories and outlets located in Bhairahawa, Janakpur, Jhapa, Sunsari and the Kathmandu Valley. 

Rasuwa Distilleries and Fruits Industries based in Balaju was found using excise duty tags of 70 UP 300 ml packages on its 50 UP 180 ml packages. The department seized Rs2.21 million worth of products bearing the illegal stickers and started further investigation against the firm. 

Likewise, the department sealed PNE Marketing of Tangal after the stickers used on the Zig Zag, Sunshine and Sunshine Apple brand products sold at the store were found to be suspicious. The IRD has also started an investigation against Narayani Distillery of Janakpur which manufactures them. 

The IRD has seized a large number of products from Das Madira Stores on charge of evading excise duty. The store sells products of Bholebaba Distillery, United Liquors and Highland Distillery. The department also sealed Bholebaba Distillery in Bhadrapur. The operator of another dealer, namely Brothers and Bajrang, has absconded.  

Shikhar Distillery and Liquors of Kavrepalanchok is facing action on a similar charge. The IRD has put Dristi Enterprises of Damak and Prakriti Cold Store of Birtamod under scrutiny after the stickers they were using were found to be suspicious. According to the department, it has collected specimens of the stickers used by these stores for further investigation.

Winners Liquors and Purbanchal Distillery of Dharan are being investigated by the IRD. The department has sealed the warehouses of Thapa Brothers in Gauradaha and Himalayan Traders and Halesi Distributors and Suppliers in Itahari. Likewise, product samples have been collected from Chandra Surya Suppliers, Pratima Cold Store and Two Four Fifty Four for further investigation. 

The department sealed the warehouses of Shiva Bhairav Traders in Buddhanagar after a number of products it sells were found to be suspicious. During the market inspection, Golden Bar manufactured by Abinav Distillery, Vegan made by Shikhar Distillery, Sunshine manufactured by Narayani Distillery and products of Sunchhahari Distillery were found to be suspicious, and the department has sealed these outlets. 

The government levies excise duty on domestically manufactured goods. More than 100 goods under 54 categories are subject to excise duty. 

Manufacturers of liquor and other alcoholic beverages including beer and wine have to pay excise tax ranging from Rs28 to Rs1,003 per litre. Similarly, the government charges excise duty on cigarettes ranging from Rs374 to Rs2,055 per 1,000 sticks.

Last year, the IRD launched machine readable excise duty stickers in a bid to increase tax compliance in alcoholic beverages and tobacco products. According to the IRD, the new stickers come with added security features and are distributed online.

IRD Deputy Director General Yagya Prasad Dhungel said the added security features and increased market monitoring had helped to catch offending traders. According to him, the added security features have helped them identify counterfeit stickers easily. “We have focused inspection on all possible channels including production plants, dealers and retailers.”

Dhungel said the department had targeted checking alcoholic beverages and tobacco products in the first phase. “We will be extending our investigation to other products in due course,” he added. 

Published: 31-03-2018 07:54

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