Physical tax stamps and marks are used to indicate that the required excise duties or other applicable taxes identified with an item have been paid and to signify that the item is legitimately available in the intended market. 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.
Tax stamps are proven to help increase excise tax revenues while also helping to fight against counterfeit, smuggled or diverted goods. 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.
Tax stamps are now becoming even more critical as an additional security feature on consumer goods, particularly on tobacco products where global, regional and national efforts are being introduced to better control tobacco and improve public health by reducing tobacco consumption. The World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and the EU's Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) are examples of structured international or regional strategies in which tax stamps can play a significant role.
The purpose of this new ISO standard is to assist tax authorities to improve compliance with excise tax regulations by providing guidance on tax stamp procurement, construction, security, issuance and examination. The standard sets out best practice in these areas, explaining that tax authorities should regard their tax stamps as a highly secured and protected document, integrated and supported by systems and examination procedures that all contribute to establishing an effective and efficient excise tax collection regime.
Ian Lancaster, co-founder and former Managing Director of Reconnaissance International, which publishes Tax Stamp News™ and Tax Stamps: A Technical Study and Market Report, as well as managing the Tax Stamp Forum™, has been the ISO 22382 project leader, responsible for developing ISO 22382. He provides the following background to the rationale and purpose of the standard:
“Tax stamps have the potential to make a very significant contribution to public health and government revenues. We know that counterfeit and other illicit excisable goods not only deprive governments of tax revenues but can kill or cause serious health problems to consumers. A secure tax stamp makes it much more difficult for the criminals who target taxed products.
Our aim in creating this standard is to help tax authorities to achieve the best in their tax stamps – to make them secure and well-protected, so they in turn protect the goods on which they are applied and the public buying them.
Given this, I and the members of ISO/TC 292 encourage tax authorities to adopt this standard for guidance on their tax stamp programmes to ensure that their tax stamps deliver protection to the public as well as increased tax revenues.
It has been a pleasure and an honour to lead a team of committed and dedicated experts from around the world on the drafting of this standard. I'd also like to thank the International Tax Stamp Association for its commitment and support to creating this standard."
* Note: ISO's practice is to title a standard to show its provenance, which in this case is that it was written under the auspices of ISO's Technical Committee 292, Security and resilience, specifically by that Committee's Working Group on Authenticity, integrity and trust for products and documents.
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 is available from ISO national member bodies. It may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat, respectively through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing, Communication & Information department.