EDN26 – New Excise Stamp Security Features

From: Canada Revenue Agency

September 2010

The information in this notice does not replace the law found in the Excise Act, 2001 and its regulations and is provided for your reference and convenience only. As the information in this publication may not completely address your particular operation, you may wish to refer to the Act or its regulations, or you may contact the Excise Stamp Order Desk or your regional excise duty office for additional information. A list of all regional excise duty offices is available in Excise Duty Memorandum 1-1-2, Regional Excise Duty Offices, on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) web site.

The purpose of this notice is to provide information concerning the CRA's new excise stamp and some of its security features. Consumers, retailers and other stakeholders will be able to identify and authenticate a genuine excise stamp and have greater confidence that tobacco products are not illicit.

On July 12, 2010, the Jobs and Economic Growth Act (Bill C-9) received Royal Assent. This act contains the legislative amendments to the Excise Act, 2001 required to implement a new stamping regime for tobacco products. The implementation date of the new stamping regime, as set out in the legislative amendments, is September 1, 2010, allowing the new excise stamp to be applied to tobacco products destined for the duty-paid market.

The legislative amendments include a transitional period between the implementation date and March 31, 2011, during which time, domestically manufactured and imported tobacco products may be stamped in compliance with the current stamping regime or with the new excise stamp in compliance with the new stamping regime.

The new excise stamps are available as of September 1, 2010. Effective April 1, 2011, all tobacco products to be entered into the duty-paid market or released under the Customs Act for entry into the duty-paid market must be stamped with the new excise stamp. For a limited transition period following April 1, 2011, both the new excise stamps and/or the current tear-tapes or paper stamps may appear on tobacco products in the duty-paid market. Further, provincially marked tear tape may continue to be present on duty-paid tobacco products.

Compliance with the Excise Act, 2001

Under the provisions of the Excise Act, 2001, no person shall sell, offer for sale or have in their possession a tobacco product unless it is stamped. Similarly, no person shall produce, possess, sell, or otherwise supply, or offer to supply anything that is intended to resemble or pass for an excise stamp. To promote compliance and facilitate authentication of the new stamp, some of the stamp's unique features are described in this notice.

Certain security features of the excise stamp

Certain security features of the excise stamp

The new excise stamp integrates various visible features combined with overt and covert security features, similar to those used in banknotes and passports. The following is an overview of certain visible features and overt security features of the new excise stamp. In order to protect the integrity of the excise stamp, some overt security features and all covert security features will not be identified.

Visible features

Visible features include the following:

  • The dimensions of the excise stamp are exactly 20 × 40 mm.
  • The stamp type shows, in distinctive print, the type of tobacco product to which the excise stamp will be affixed. The new stamp will be available in the following types:
    • Cigarettes - 20 units
    • Cigarettes - 25 units
    • Cigarettes - 200 units
    • Tobacco - 50 grams
    • Tobacco - 100 grams
    • Tobacco - 150 grams
    • Tobacco - 200 grams
    • Tobacco - 250 grams
    • Tobacco - 400 grams
    • Cigars
    • Raw leaf
  • The jurisdiction includes the jurisdiction's name abbreviation as well as the jurisdiction's distinctive colour band and background. The abbreviation and the colour band and background of the excise stamp may be modified to suit the intended duty-paid market.
  • The unique identifier is an alphanumeric identifier specific to each excise stamp; and starts with three (3) capital letters followed by six (6) numbers. The first stamp series will start with the letter A.
  • The federal duty-paid status distinctively indicates that federal excise duty has been paid on the tobacco product.

Overt security features

The overt security features include the following:

  • The intaglio latent image is an engraved image that creates features that have unique tactility and visual effect. On the excise stamp, the letter C is visible on minor movement of the stamp at normal viewing angles.
  • The colour shift ink is an overt security feature where the ink shifts in colour from green to red when the excise stamp is tilted. The change of colour occurs with a change of viewing angle.
  • The anti-copy line work provides a distinctive and unique appearance to the excise stamp. Further, this feature makes it extremely difficult to replicate by copying as the quality and clarity of the line work would not carry over to a copied document.
  • The stamp also includes ultraviolet visible ink that fluoresces under a commercially available black light.

Please note that the excise stamp must be affixed in accordance with the proposals to amend the stamping regulations issued on September 14, 2009. For more information on the stamping regime for tobacco products, go to the Excise duty webpage.

Additional information

For more information on the legislative amendments, please see Part 2 of the Jobs and Economic Growth Act or contact the Excise Stamp Order Desk at the following address and numbers:

Excise Stamp Order Desk
Excise Duties and Taxes Division
Excise and GST/HST Rulings Directorate
Canada Revenue Agency
Place de Ville Tower A 11th floor
320 Queen St
Ottawa ON  K1A 0L5

Telephone: 1-866-330-3304
Fax: 418-556-1840
Email: excise.stamp@cra-arc.gc.ca

Further information 

For all technical publications related to the Excise Act, 2001 and its regulations, go to Excise Act, 2001 – Technical Information.

To request a ruling or interpretation or make a technical enquiry on excise duty, contact one of the regional excise duty offices listed in Excise Duty Memorandum EDM1-1-2, Regional Excise Duty Offices.

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