JEDDAH: The Saudi tax authority has announced it is to start implementing a selective levy on sugary drinks.
The General Authority of Zakat and Tax (GAZT) will police the introduction of a resolution of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to expand tariffs to include sweetened beverages, in addition to soft and energy drinks.
From Dec. 1, 2019, drinks will be taxed at 50 percent of their retail sale price in line with GCC regulations issued in June 2017.
According to GAZT, the tax will apply to any sweetened beverage that consists of water and sugar, sweeteners, concentrated liquids, powders, or extracts converted to beverages.
GAZT added that health reports had highlighted the negative effects of consuming sugary drinks, noting that consumers were more likely to be exposed to diseases and weight gain. Studies suggested the benefits of replacing them with fruit and natural juices rich with vitamins.
The authority said some drinks would be exempt from the selective tax, including milk-based products (75 percent at least), milk, infant formula, as well as drinks that contain natural sugar, such as fruit juices and those for medical purposes.
For further information on drinks with added sugar and to find out which products will be exempt from the tax, visit the GAZT website at www.gazt.gov.sa.