BAHRAIN continues to clamp down on violations with the National Bureau for Revenue (NBR) conducting 174 inspections within local markets during October this year.

The visits resulted in 37 violations being filed, which required the imposition of administrative fines in accordance with the Value Added Tax (VAT) and Excise Law.

This was in addition to other offences such as VAT and excise evasion that resulted in the closure of some outlets.

The NBR yesterday warned it would take legal measures against violating businesses and refer those who are proven to have evaded taxes, to the authorities concerned to initiate criminal action.

The law stipulates offenders could face five years in jail and a fine equivalent to three times the amount of VAT due, or imprisonment for one year and a fine equivalent to double the evaded excise tax.

“These campaigns were organised as part of NBR’s ongoing oversight efforts to protect consumer rights and enhance the level of business compliance, to ensure the effective implementation of VAT and excise,” the bureau said in a statement yesterday.

The campaigns include the implementation of the Digital Stamps Scheme on cigarettes to guarantee that businesses are aware of the scheme and the mandatory presence of such stamps on all cigarette products available in local markets.

The government watchdog expanded the scheme last year to include water pipe tobacco ‘molasses’ products.

The scheme aims to track excise goods from the manufacturing stage up to consumption through digital stamps, which will protect consumers against the circulation of counterfeit or illegal products.

The first phase of the scheme went into effect on cigarette products on March 11, 2022, allowing registered importers and manufacturers to place digital stamp orders via an electronic system.

Meanwhile, the NBR yesterday also confirmed the continuation of inspection campaigns to urge all businesses registered with it to abide by the law.

It aims to ensure the price of goods and services shown is inclusive of VAT, and the VAT registration certificate is displayed in a visible place in the establishment.

The bureau has confirmed that all companies, establishments and individuals whose annual turnover exceeds BD37,500 should be registered for VAT purposes to avoid legal action. And, businesses must file their VAT returns and payments by October 1.

According to NBR data for the third quarter of this year, there are more than 23,210 registered VAT payers and over 1,045 stores registered for tourists’ refunds.

More than 133 VAT workshops have been conducted as well as 190,465 calls and 45,085 emails processed through the call centre this year.

For enquiries related to VAT and excise or to report any violations, the NBR call centre can be reached at 80008001 available 24 hours, seven days a week, or through the National Suggestions and Complaints System (Tawasul), for VAT-related queries and for Digital Stamps Scheme queries.

The GDN yesterday reported that the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) conducted 883 inspections and visits from November 12 to 18 in various governorates. This resulted in the detention of 109 irregular workers and deportation of 181 violators.

Inspections have been held across the island for the past few months to tackle illegal practices in the labour market, ensure fairness and stability and enhance productivity.

Last year, the kingdom cracked down on violators, initiating legal action against more than 2,400 illegal expatriate workers.

Copyright 2022 Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (