Qatar imposes 100 percent tax on health-damaging goods

Hops, grape and shorts doubled in price on January 1, 2019

Qatar imposes 100 percent tax on health-damaging goods

Hops, grape and shorts have doubled in price instantly after a new health tax was rolled out overnight.

A crate of hops will jump from QR192 to a whopping QR384, a 1.5 litre bottle of bubbly costs QR1,658, double its previous price of QR829, while a bottle of juniper will set you back up to QR554.

Hotels and licensed bars and restaurants have yet to announce their new prices, but the tax increase is expected to have a substantial knock-on effect.

The rulings are part of new measures announced by the Tax Department, Ministry of Finance in the State of Qatar, on January 1.

It means beverages imported into the country will be subject to a 100 percent excise tax, calculated on the current selling price of the products available at Qatar Distribution Centre (QDC), the official distributors of beverages and pork products in Qatar.

While fuel prices were simultaneously slashed, QDC doubling prices has come as a shock to the expat community in Doha. The price of tobacco has also increased leading to an artificial shortage of the product due to hoarding.

While announcing Qatar’s budget for 2019, the authorities had declared an imposition of selective tax on goods that were damaging to health. This simply means the new laws include a 100 percent tax on tobacco and beverages and a 50 percent tax on sugary drinks.

An increase in QDC prices directly affects the bars and restaurants in Qatar, ultimately shifting the tax burden to the consumers. While several hotels are yet to implement these changes, a few bars and restaurants are already taking steps to ensure loyal customers are not discouraged from their usual patronage. Rose and Thistle, for instance, has a weekday promotion where you can get a bottle of hops for QR35 only, from Sunday to Wednesday, 8pm to midnight.

Watch this space for further updates.

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