Myanmar

The overall progress of tobacco tax policy implementation:

  • Relationship between tobacco taxes, price and public health

The Government has introduced the Commercial Tax Law since 1990, which is to be considered for moving towards back to the Goods and Services Tax System that was installed in 1976. In 2016, the Special Commodity Tax Law was enforced and shifted the tobacco tax system from a purely ad valorem to a specific system with 4 tiers for cigarettes. The main objective is to raise taxes on all tobacco products, with a view to have impact on tobacco use.

  • Structure of tobacco taxes (ad valorem, specific, mixture of both, minimum taxes, other taxes on tobacco goods)

The current tobacco tax structure is specific system with 4 tiers for cigarettes[1] (Table 1) under the Special Commodity Tax Law. The SGT is also levied on cheroots, pipe tobacco, cigars/cigarillos, smoking tobacco, and betel chewing preparation[2]. The Internal Revenue Department (IRD) determines the prices of tobacco products (based on information provided by the manufacturers and their own market survey). These prices are subject to the review by IRD and determine the tax rates.[3]

Table 1: Special Goods Tax Rates, Myanmar 2016 – 2020

 Price20162017201820192020
Cigarettes

< 400 MMK (2016&2017);<500 MMK (2018);
<600 MMK (2018&2020) per 20 sticks

3 MMK per stick4 MMK per stick4 MMK per stick8 MMK per stick9 MMK per stick
401-600 MMK (2016&2017); 501-700 MMK (2018); 601-800 MMK (2019&2020) per 20 sticks8 MMK per stick9 MMK per stick9 MMK per stick17 MMK per stick18 MMK per stick
601-800 MMK (2016&2017); 701-900 (2018); 801-1000 MMK (2019&2020) per 20 sticks12 MMK per stick13 MMK per stick13 MMK per stick22 MMK per stick23 MMK per stick
>800 MMK (2016&2017); >900 (2018); >1000 MMK (2019&2020) per 20 sticks15 MMK per stick16 MMK per stick16 MMK per stick25 MMK per stick26 MMK per stick
Cheroots≤10 MMK per stick 0.50 MMK per stick   
 >10 MMK per 1 MMK per stick   
Any price60% 0.25 MMK per stick0.75 MMK per stick0.80 MMK per stick
  • Level of tax rates to apply

Tobacco tax as a percentage of retail prices in Myanmar is 50-60%. Since 2015, the Internal Revenue Department (IRD) has started to implemented a long-term policy on tobacco taxation.  Tobacco tax rates on all tobacco products increase annually. Nonetheless, the tobacco tax rates apply to cigarettes are in tiers based on tobacco prices while tobacco tax rates for cheroots are much lower than cigarettes.

  • Comprehensiveness/similar tax burden for different tobacco products

The government does not tax all tobacco products in a comparable way. Since hand-rolled tobacco products like cheroots or cigars or smokeless tobacco products are taxed less than cigarettes, there is a potential to for consumers to shift to those cheaper products if there is a tax increase. As per the Myanmar Constitution 2008, the Union Parliament has to pass the annual Budget and Union Tax Law, and thus every year, the Parliaments (both upper and lower houses) have to review and also can make revisions of tax systems and tax rates as required.

  • Authorization/licensing

Myanmar has a license system for manufacture of tobacco products and manufacturing equipment, import or export of tobacco products and manufacturing equipment. There is no license required for retailing tobacco products, transporting commercial quantities of tobacco products or manufacturing equipment, and wholesaling, brokering, warehousing or distribution of tobacco and tobacco products or manufacturing equipment.

  • Warehouse system/movement of excisable goods and tax payments

Myanmar formally ban any importation of cigarettes, but allow importation of raw tobacco, and other materials to be used for cigarette production. Myanmar also allows import of duty-free cigarettes to be sold to tourists and to passengers passing through international terminals. Myanmar has not implemented yet of establishing bonded stores/warehouse system for storing and control of movement of excisable goods, including checking for taxation.

  • Anti-forestalling measures

Myanmar does not have anti-forestalling measures.

  • Fiscal markings

The government applies tax stamp on tobacco products. However, it is not part of any tracking and tracing system.

  • Enforcement

There is an enforcement action under the Special Commodity Tax Law and the Union Tax Law, as well as Income Tax Law.

  • Use of revenues – financing of tobacco control

There is currently no policy for specific use of tobacco tax revenues to finance tobacco control.

  • Tax-free/Duty-free sales

Duty-free imports for cigarettes are allowed for hotels and international airport terminals, under licensed from the Hotel and Tourist Ministry. In addition, international travelers to Myanmar can carry duty-free cigarettes up to 400 sticks, 100 cigars, or 250 grams of pipe tobacco.

  • Protection of tax policies from vested interests

The government has not implemented the WHO FCTC Article 5.3 to protect tax policies from vested interests of the tobacco industry yet.

[1]  Myanmar Cigarettes, GlobalData, October 2020.
[2] Myanmar. Overview of Tobacco Use, Tobacco Control Legislation and Taxation. World Bank, 2019.
[3] Myanmar. Overview of Tobacco Use, Tobacco Control Legislation and Taxation. World Bank, 2019.

Source: SEATCA Tobacco Tax Index: Implementation of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Article 6 in ASEAN Countries 2021