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ISO 19998 Now ISO 22382 Committee Draft

25 July 2017

ISO’s Technical Committee (TC) 292 (Security and resilience) and its Working Group (WG) 4 held meetings in South Korea in late April. WG 4 covers Authenticity, integrity and trust for products and documents and this is the ‘host’ committee for the drafting of ISO 19998, titled ‘Requirements for the content, security, issuance and examination of excise tax stamps’. Except that after this meeting it is now numbered ISO 22382, because as a new(ish) committee TC 292 has now been assigned a new range of numbers for its standards, in the 223nn sequence. 

WG 4 spent a day-and-a-half discussing ISO 22382, which, following from a Webex meeting on the same subject at the end of March, made significant progress in refining the draft. The outcome is that the preparatory stage of standard development has been concluded and is now being circulated to all TC 292 members as a Committee Draft (CD).  This is a major step in the ISO procedure, so the standard is still on track to be published early in 2018 (assuming there are no major objections or re-writes required as a result of committee member response to this CD).

The structure of the standard has been changed as a result of discussions during and following the March Webex meeting. Much of the technical detail has been moved from the main body of the document to annexes, where that detail can be expanded to give better coverage and guidance to tax stamp issuers. This means that the main text flows more logically and easily.


Among other main changes in this draft are the addition of an improved diagrammatic representation of the tax stamp development process. This is part of Clause 4, Process Overview, and is intended to give tax stamp authorities reading the standard an easy-to-grasp overview, where each identified part of the process is described fully in a clause in the standard. The standard now includes a revised clause on the functions of a tax stamp. This has three sub-clauses covering the obvious one of revenue collection, the use of tax stamps as a vehicle to monitor taxable products through the supply chain, and their use for consumer reassurance and legislative compliance. The wording now used satisfies most members of WG 4, including representatives of tax stamp suppliers and those from the tobacco industry. The clause on the construction of tax stamps – the longest clause in the standard – has also been reworked to give more prominence to authentication approaches, with reference to an annexe that gives an overview of authentication technologies and features. 


There is a sub-clause titled Printing, Inks and Coatings, which includes an expanded section on direct marking (defined as ‘applying a tax stamp directly onto the product container, through the use of laser marking or printing with inks or other markers that adhere to the material of the container’), with references to an annexe giving more specific information on printing methods and direct marking, comparing the characteristics of direct marking with those of tax stamp labels.

The coverage of issuance and activation processes has also been expanded in this draft, with a strengthening of the guidance on use of unique identifiers (UIDs), which are actually referenced throughout the document to encourage tax authorities to use UIDs on tax stamps.


We now await the outcome of the TC 292 ballot on the CD and the comments from committee members.


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