An ISO Standard For Tax Stamps

In 2018, the International Organisation for Standards (ISO) published a new standard for tax stamps, developed with support and contributions from ITSA.

ISO has over 19,500 standards. These touch on almost all aspects of daily and commercial life, helping to harmonise technical specifications of products and services and to establish best practice in management.

Because standards draw on international expertise and experience, they are a vital resource for governments 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 the development and specification of tax stamps.

The standard is called ISO 22382:2018 Requirements for the content, security, issuance and examination of excise tax stamps. This is a guidance standard intended to advise and assist tax authorities to achieve best practice in specifying, procuring, issuing and examining tax stamps. It is available to buy and download from the ISO online store, at

It is also available from every national standards body (NSB) that is a member of ISO (NSBs are free to set their own price for the standard so it might be worthwhile contacting your NSB to find out whether it is offering it at an advantageous price).


Tax stamp procurement and review process – © ISO 22382

The Scope of ISO 22382

ITSA contributed to the funding and drafting of the tax stamp standard, and conducts promotional programmes to ensure that it is adopted by tax authorities. ITSA’s members also work within the parameters for tax stamps laid out in the standard, in order to assist their customers – tax authorities and stamp issuers – in meeting the best practices laid out in the standard.

22382 provides ‘cradle-to-grave’ guidance to tax authorities on their procedures relating to tax stamps. It covers:

• The role and different functions of tax stamps, and what a tax authority should do to establish the functional requirements of its tax stamps;
• Definitions and terminology;
• Establishing a fair and comprehensive procurement process, including the drafting of the request for proposals (RFP);
• The minimum stamp security requirements with explanations of the materials and authentication features that can be used in a tax stamp;
• The function of and relationship between authentication and track and trace systems, with explanations on the use of a unique identifier (UID);
• The differences between tax stamps on a paper or other substrate, which are affixed to the taxable product, and those which are marked directly on to the product or its container;
• Examination procedures for issued stamps¬ to establish whether a tax stamp is genuine or suspect, and the relationship between the authentication features, the equipment or tools required to examine them and the examiner;
• Quality testing and in-use monitoring of tax stamps;
• Disposal of waste or unused stamps.

Read also Introduction to the international standard for tax stamps for a summary of 22382.

As well as benefiting tax authorities, tax stamp and component suppliers will find it valuable to refer to the standard in their customer relations and to work within its recommended best practice parameters when developing new stamps and features.
Organisations that are required to apply tax stamps, including manufacturers and importers of taxable goods will also find it helpful to refer to the standard.

Five-Year Review

As is the practice with all ISO standards, 22382:2018 is now due its five-year review.

Following a stakeholder consultation process in 2023, several areas of the standard will be reviewed and rewritten in 2024, a process that is due to last until spring 2025.

Read Tax Stamp Standard Review Is Underway for more information.