New ISO tax stamp standard is published

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has published a new standard on excise tax stamps, used as a security feature on tobacco and some other products.

The new standard* aims to assist tax authorities to improve compliance with excise tax regulations by providing guidance on tax stamp procurement, construction, security, issuance and examination, says ISO.

The public is most familiar with tax stamps as paper seals across bottle tops or on the closure of cigarette packs, but they are also now being introduced on a wide variety of goods such as soft drinks, which may be subject to a sugar tax, it notes.

Specifically, this document gives guidance on:

  • defining the functions of a tax stamp;
  • identifying and consulting with stakeholders;
  • planning the procurement process and selection of suppliers;
  • the design and construction of tax stamps;
  • the overt and covert security features that provide protection of the tax stamp;
  • the finishing and application processes for the tax stamp;
  • security of the tax stamp supply chain;
  • serialization and unique identifier (UID) codes for tax stamps;
  • examination of tax stamps; and
  • monitoring and assessing tax stamp performance.

“Tax stamps are proven to help increase excise tax revenues while also helping to fight against counterfeit, smuggled or diverted goods,” notes ISO.

“To prevent this, it is necessary for tax stamps to be secure and protected from copying, imitation or tampering. Experience and case studies have shown that the more sophisticated the stamp's security features the more successful it is in protecting against criminal efforts to bypass excise tax.

* ISO 22382:2018 - Security and resilience - Authenticity, integrity and trust for products and documents - Guidelines for the content, security, issuance and examination of excise tax stamps.

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