News on ITSA: Recognition, Growth and a New Webinar

The International Tax Stamp Association (ITSA) is being increasingly recognised by government revenue departments as an authoritative body of experts on tax stamp and traceability solutions for excise products.

This has been demonstrated most recently by a tender issued by Kosovo Customs for tax stamps on cigarettes and alcohol, which stipulates that manufacturers of the stamps must, among other requirements, have government-level certification under ISO 14298 (relating to management of security printing processes), and be members of ITSA.

This is not the first time that a tax stamp tender has called for bidders to be ITSA members. Furthermore, a growing number of revenue authorities are approaching ITSA for assistance in disseminating public tender announcements and documents among tax stamp solution providers.

‘We are very happy that revenue authorities put their trust in us to assist them with communicating their tenders to the tax stamp community, and we are grateful to them for endorsing the expertise and high professional conduct of ITSA members by including ITSA membership as a requirement in tax stamp tenders,’ commented Juan Carlos Yañez Arenas, Chairman of ITSA.

‘But we think that we can go further with this, by establishing closer, more hands-on working relationships with a larger group of authorities, with the aim of sharing learnings with them and developing solutions and systems that fit with their specific needs,’ he continued.

‘This is why we have set up an associate membership category within ITSA, primarily for revenue authorities. Such membership is free of charge and will give authorities the opportunity to participate in ITSA meetings and contribute to shaping the direction of tax stamp specification, deployment and implementation.’

‘Now, more than ever, the time is right for us all to come together as a united force over illicit trade and lost tax revenues. Also, with the tobacco traceability requirements of the WHO FCTC Protocol entering into force in 2023, countries that are party to the Protocol have two years left to implement these systems, and we can help them with this by offering practical guidance based on proven best practice,’ said Juan Carlos.

Track and trace webinar set for October

To this end, ITSA will be holding a one-hour webinar on 26 October, entitled ‘Tracking and Tracing of Tobacco Products – Lessons Learned and Best Practices’.

The blurb for the webinar describes 2021 as a milestone year for global tobacco track and trace systems. On the one hand, the EU Tobacco Products Directive is undergoing a mandatory periodic review, to be completed by the end of the year. And on the other hand, the implementation of the FCTC Protocol is moving ahead with the second Meeting of the Parties (MOP2) to the Protocol taking place in November.

ITSA is therefore inviting tax authorities, government officials and those NGOs and academics concerned with tobacco control measures to come together for a discussion, before MOP2, on what we’ve learned so far with regard to tobacco track and trace and what should be the best practices for authorities to take on board going forward.

Click here to register for the webinar (which is open to government authorities, NGOs, universities, like-minded associations and ITSA members only).

New member brings tally to 25

A new member recently joined ITSA’s ranks as of August 2021: Demax Holograms Plc, headquartered in Sofia, Bulgaria.

As well as being a leading security printer, Demax Holograms is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of security holograms, with an end-to-end production and application cycle. The company’s tax stamp customers include Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Uzbekistan for holograms on tobacco and alcohol stamps, as well as holograms for the Kosovo Medicines Agency.

The appointment of Demax Holograms to ITSA brings the total number of members to 25 – of which three are headquartered in the Americas, five in Asia and 17 in Europe.

ITSA is now urging other organisations to join the association. Membership is open to legally incorporated companies that supply tax stamp components and features, finished tax stamps, equipment for stamp design, manufacture, application and authentication, systems for coding and marking stamps, tax stamp and track and trace management systems, and systems for inline production monitoring.

Go to for more information on how to join ITSA, or contact Nicola Sudan, General Secretary, at