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An ISO Standard For Tax Stamps

The International Organization for Standards (ISO) has over 19,500 standards. These touch on almost all aspects of daily life, helping to harmonise technical specifications of products and services.

For governments, because standards draw on international expertise and experience they are a vital resource when developing public policy. As tax stamps are a government specified and issued document (in nearly all cases), it is appropriate that ISO should provide a standard specifically for tax stamps. This will help and guide governments in their development and specifications for tax stamps.

In early 2015 ISO established an expert group to draft ISO 19998: Requirements for the content, security and issuance of excise tax stamps. The standard has subsequently been given a new number (22382) and its title extended to include the examination of tax stamps. This work should conclude at the beginning of 2018 with the publication of the standard, although there will be a period of public consultation before it is published.

The Need for an International Standard

The development of the standard is now well underway and ITSA is contributing to its funding, drafting and promotion.

The objective of the standard - which will benefit suppliers, issuers and users - is to:

  • Clarify the role and function of tax stamps
  • Provide common definitions and terminology
  • Establish the minimum security characteristics and requirements
  • Clarify the function and relationship between authentication and track and trace
  • Provide reassurance to specifiers and users
  • Provide suppliers with the parameters for the development of new features for tax stamps

Working with these ISO procedures means that the tax stamp standard will be published for public consultation at the end of 2017 with the aim of adopting it in early 2018.

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