Vertical Markets

Excise tax stamps against illicit tobacco

by Mark Rowe

An international conference will showcase excise tax stamps against illicit tobacco trade. The International Tax Stamp Association (ITSA) is hosting a workshop at the High Security Printing conference in San José, Costa Rica from June 3 to 5, to highlight the latest regulatory and best practice developments around excise tax stamp and secure track and trace systems.

Those attending – including revenue agencies, academics and economic development specialists – will learn how tax stamp programmes can offer a secure, standardised and cost-effective solution to combat the illicit trade of goods such as tobacco and alcohol.

The conference comes as countries come under pressure to ramp up investment in security to counter tobacco counterfeiters and fraudsters. Under the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Protocol, which came into force last year, all countries must introduce a track and trace system for cigarettes by 2023. The likelihood is that national revenue authorities will be responsible for enforcing these systems, possibly via the use of tax stamps.

Nicola Sudan, ITSA General Secretary, pictured, said: “Tax stamp programmes provide a secure and independent way of implementing combined tax collection and track and trace systems, and ITSA will use the workshop at the High Security Printing conference to discuss best practices around such implementation. We’ll also describe how these systems can counter the illicit trade of tobacco products to deliver on the public health mandate that is at the foundation of the WHO’s FCTC Protocol.

“The experts and officials who come along to our event will learn how to prepare for the implementation of the FCTC Protocol, and how the ISO 22382 standard can provide valuable guidance on the development of and specifications for tax stamps. We’ll also shine a light on examples of best practice around the world, where countries have successfully adopted tax stamp programmes and track and trace systems that are among the most effective in the market.”

The ITSA event will take place from 8.30am to 12.30pm on June 3. To attend contact Nicola at [email protected]

For more on the High Security Printing conference, visit

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