Latvian Saeima passed in the final reading amendments to the law on excise tax today, stipulating that from now on stricter limits will apply to the amount of tobacco products that private individuals from third countries can bring with them to Latvia; furthermore, persons will not be able to bring the allowed amount of tobacco products across the border of Latvia more often than one time per day.
At the moment persons traveling to Latvia from countries outside the European Union can bring with them no more than 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos, or 250 grams of smoking tobacco. As the law amendments endorsed today come into force, the allowed limits will be reduced to 40 cigarettes, 20 cigarillos, or 50 grams of smoking tobacco, writes LETA.
The law applies to tobacco products brought by individuals for their own consumption.
State Revenue Service estimates that every year around 46% of tobacco products brought in to Latvia from Russia and Belarus and claimed to be meant for private consumption, is actually sold on the black market, that is, these products are imported without paying excise tax. Thus, every year the state budget fails to obtain around LVL 4.1 million excise tax money.
Finance Ministry underlines that the law amendments will only concern individuals from third countries, and these restrictions will in no way increase administrative burdens on importing entrepreneurs.
Along with reducing the amount of tobacco products available at the illegal market, Finance Ministry expects that legal tobacco products sales will grow and the state could boost excise tax revenues by approximately LVL 3.28 million.
As reported, Finance Minister Einars Repse (New Era) previously announced that he was dissatisfied with the revenue from excise tax.
Repse said that measures against the so-called legal smugglers should have been adopted already. There are people who have made a business out of bringing across the border the maximum permissible number of excised goods several times a day.
Repse went on to say that tax collection is the main problem, and that this is the responsibility of the State Revenue Service.
© Copyright: 24.09.2009 Baltic-course