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App verifies BIR stamps on cigarettes

REPUBLIC Act No. 10351, popularly known as the Sin Tax Law, specifically stipulates that the Commissioner of Internal Revenue is mandated to prescribe, provide, and distribute, among others, internal revenue stamps with adequate security features for affixture on each pack of cigars and cigarettes.

Pursuant to this, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) issued Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 51-2016, announcing the availability of a mobile application known as the Stamp Verifier app that will enable the user to determine the authenticity of the internal revenue stamps affixed on cigarette packs. This is useful in identifying smuggled or counterfeit cigarettes proliferating in the country.

The app can be downloaded on smart phones from the Google Play Store or Apple’s AppStore free of charge by both the BIR and the public.

The Quick Reference (QR) Code, one of the security features of the stamp, refers to a two-dimensional bar code that holds information relative to the product to which the stamp is affixed, including a unique identifier code (UIC), which is a code or serial number that represents an internal revenue stamp.

To start scanning a QR Code:

1. Connect to a WiFi network or turn on mobile
2. Enable location services in settings;
3. Locate and tap the Stamp Verifier app on your
4. To start scanning a QR Code, tap scan;
5. Hold and point the camera of the phone
perpendicular to the QR Code; and
6. When a QR code is fully detected, a
corresponding scan result will display:
i. “Valid for UIC: ”
ii. “Invalid QR Code”
When the 20-second timer elapses from the time, the camera is opened and there is no QR code detected, a message “no QR code detected” will appear and the user will be advised to go back to the main page by pressing the back button.

Cigarette packs with an “Invalid QR Code” mean that these are either smuggled or counterfeit cigarettes.

The information retrieved will be uploaded to the Internal Revenue Stamp Integrated System (IRSIS) Mobile App Web Service for monitoring and evaluation purposes. Thereafter, BIR, based on the evaluated information, will institute actions on persons responsible for the manufacture/sale of these cigarette packs.

You may refer to the RMC for more information on how to download, use and other applicable technical requirements.


P&A Grant Thornton
Certified Public Accountants
Punongbayan & Araullo (P&A) is the Philippine member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd.