Qatar Imposes 100% Tax on Alcohol

If you’re an alcohol drinker, then get ready to spend more for your favourite beer or liquor, as Qatar has recently introduced a 100 percent tax on alcohol starting January 1, 2019.

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The huge “sin” tax was introduced just a few weeks after the Kingdom announced that it would put a tax on “health-damaging” goods, which include tobacco and energy drinks.

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Price of Alcohol Doubles in Qatar

Last month, Qatar’s Ministry of Finance introduced the Selective Tax Law, the Middle East Eye reported. Without specifically citing alcohol, the law includes a 100 percent tax on energy drinks as well as tobacco and its products. It also imposes a 50 percent tax on sugary drinks.

“The Selective Tax Law is designed to impose taxes on certain health-damaging goods and it will be implemented by the beginning of 2019,” the Ministry of Finance stated.

The new policy was shared by the Kingdom’s sole importer, distributor, and retailer of alcoholic drinks, the Qatar Distribution Company. Based on the introduction of a 100 percent excise tax, the company released a 30-page price list for beers, wines, and spirits. Hence:

  • A 75 cl bottle of Shiraz wine from South Africa will now cost USD 23;
  • A 100 cl bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin would now cost USD 93; and
  • A pack of 24 Heineken 330 ml beers would now be sold for USD 105!

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Drinking alcohol in Qatar is currently allowed in licensed hotels, bars, and clubs. Likewise, it is legal to purchase alcohol as long as you have a permit to do so. During tournaments, alcohol would be served in designated spaces, but not in public places. With the upcoming World Cup 2022, many people are bound to react and talk about the issue on alcohol, that’s for sure!

Here is the announcement about the new “excise tax,” posted by the Qatar Distribution Company on its Facebook page:

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Image Credit: Qatar Distribution Company

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With alcoholic beverage prices doubling literally overnight, drinkers in the Kingdom are greatly affected by the Selective Tax Law. Nonetheless, as expats living and working in Qatar, we should strive to abide by the rules, even if it means cutting back on alcoholic drinks!