Saudi Arabia amends Implementing Regulations on excise tax

Local contact

EY Global

31 Mar 2023
Subject Tax Alert
Categories Indirect Tax
Jurisdictions Saudi Arabia
  • Saudi Arabia has amended provisions of the Excise Tax Implementing Regulations related to excise tax procedures, such as refunds and postponement of excise tax payments on imports and audits.
  • The amendments were published in Arabic and are effective as of 24 February 2023.

Executive summary

On 24 February 2023, the ZATCA Council Decision No. 13-1-23 dated 15/07/1444H (Decision) was published in the Official Gazette. The Decision amends certain provisions of the Implementing Regulations on excise tax regarding postponement of payment of excise tax due on imports, the disposal of nonconsumable goods that are subject to the excise tax (excise goods), the refund of excise tax paid on goods that became nonconsumable, and audit procedures.

Detailed discussion


Saudi Arabia issued Royal Decree No. (M/86) dated 27/8/1438 AH, the Excise Tax Law (Law), which became effective on 11 June 2017 under the Common Excise Tax Agreement of the Gulf Cooperation Council States. The Law is intended to discourage and reduce the consumption of certain goods considered harmful to human health.

Currently, the following goods are subject to excise tax:

  • Tobacco products (100%)
  • Soft drinks (50%)
  • Energy drinks (100%)  
  • Sweetened beverages (50%)
  • Electronic smoking appliances and tools (100%)
  • Liquids used in electronic smoking appliances and tools (100%)
Highlights of the amendments

Key takeaways from the amendments include:

  • As an exception to the conditions mentioned in paragraph 2 of Article 18 of the Excise Tax Implementing Regulations, the Governor may approve a request to delay the payment of excise tax by a period not exceeding 45 days.
  • The amendments add a new Article 37, which introduces definitions and conditions to be fulfilled for a place to be designated for the disposal of nonconsumable excise goods.
  • The amendments introduce a new paragraph to Article 52, establishing the right for refund of paid excise tax on excise goods that are put into circulation and that are or become nonconsumable. Article 52 also details the conditions that must be met for the taxpayer to be granted a refund.


Taxpayers registered for excise tax purposes in Saudi Arabia should observe the new procedures introduced by the amendment to the Implementing Regulations on excise tax as they have direct implications on the payment of excise tax due on imported excise goods, disposal processes and the ability to claim refunds from the ZATCA over nonconsumables. Such taxpayers should undertake the appropriate steps to comply with the new requirements and assess potential opportunities for optimization.

For additional information with respect to this Alert, please contact the following:

EY Consulting LLC, Dubai
  • Pascal Cange, MENA Global Trade Leader

  • Abdulrahman Bashatwah, Global Trade

  • Mahmood S. Abu Ghueleh, Indirect Tax

  • Thais O Cunha, Global Trade

  • Leticia F. da Silva, Global Trade

EY LLP (United States), Middle East Tax Desk, New York
  • Asmaa Ali

For a full listing of contacts and email addresses, please click on the Tax News Update: Global Edition (GTNU) version of this Alert.