Tax stamps, which are first and foremost a means of collecting excise revenues, are governed by national regulation and legislation. Increasingly, however, just as counterfeits and criminal networks know no borders, the drivers for improved control over excise products – in particular, tobacco – are becoming regional and even international. The WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and the EU Tobacco Products Directive are two cases which illustrate this point.

Whether the catalyst is local, national, regional or international, the path to regulation and legislation is a complex one where the interests of tax and treasury departments, customs departments, health advocates, law enforcers and other stakeholders sometimes compete.

ITSA is working  to ensure that the tax stamp, as a device for fiscal verification and collection, authentication and supply chain security, lies at the core of policies being drawn up by these stakeholders and that, critically, they form part of an overall framework of regulation, enforcement and education.

Implementing the FCTC Protocol – Guidelines for Revenue Authorities Running Tax Stamp Programmes

Proposal for an FCTC Protocol-Compliant Tobacco Control System Blueprint

How to Make Unique Identifiers for Tobacco Track and Trace Secure and Independent from the Tobacco Industry: A Standards-Based Approach 

Legal opinion by Professor d’Argent, Louvain University, Belgium, on incompatibility of EU tobacco traceability system with WHO FCTC Protocol



One of the key objectives of ITSA is to develop standards for tax stamps in order to clarify their role and function, provide common definitions and terminology, establish minimum security standards and parameters for the development of new features, and convey the critical relationship between authentication and track and trace.

In developing and then implementing these standards, ITSA helps to guide and inform tax stamp issuers on the available solutions, examples of best practice and required frameworks in which tax stamps are implemented.