They are a seal of approval that producers of consumer goods have paid their dues – and that the products are the real McCoy. Excise stamps not only ensure government revenues, they also help detect the illegal and counterfeit products that abound. A new standard for the security of tax stamps has just been published to make them more effective and protect the goods on which they are applied.
Alcohol and cigarettes are the most common items on which tax is levied, as governments aim to both raise revenues and deter the consumption of health-endangering products. But the range of taxes is on the rise as many countries are introducing new ones, such as the sugar tax on soft drinks, with the same objectives in mind. For this system to work effectively, tax stamps are required to demonstrate that the duty has been paid and that the product is legitimately available in the intended market.
However, where there is tax, there are always attempts at tax avoidance, breeding criminal activity that puts illicit and counterfeit products on the market, many of which may be harmful to the health of consumers. A foolproof tax stamp, however, is an effective way of literally stamping down on the problem.
ISO 22382, Security and resilience – Authenticity, integrity and trust for products and documents – Guidelines for the content, security, issuance and examination of excise tax stamps, is designed to help tax authorities improve compliance with regulations and establish an effective and efficient excise tax collection regime.
Ian Lancaster, Project Leader of the ISO technical committee that developed the standard, said tax stamps have the potential to make a very significant contribution to public health and government revenues, and thus it is essential they work as they should.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
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