Last reviewed 22 July 2021

Businesses that manufacture or import plastic packaging containing less than 30% recycled plastic need to prepare to register for the forthcoming plastic packaging tax, Government says.

The proposed new tax, which is expected to come into force in 2022, will require all businesses that manufacture or import 10 or more tonnes of plastic packaging over a 12-month period to register for the tax, regardless of whether they have to pay any tax.

All business that are required to register will need to pay Plastic Packaging Tax on any packaging that contains less than 30% recycled plastic. This includes importers of packaging which already contains goods, such as plastic bottles filled with drinks. Where the imported packaging already contains other goods, the tax only applies to the plastic packaging itself.

The tax is intended to encourage businesses to consider greater use of recycled plastic and to make changes to the packaging they manufacture or import so that they include at least 30% recycled plastic. This means they will be outside of the tax.

But even those businesses that manufacture or import less than 10 tonnes of plastic packaging in a year will still need to keep records of manufactured or imported packaging to demonstrate they are below the tax threshold. The same rules apply to non-resident taxpayers that import more than 10 tonnes of plastic packaging in a year, including plastic packaging that contains more than 30% recycled plastic or is exempt from the tax, will still need to register and account for any tax due. 

The Government is advising businesses that import plastic packaging to check now whether they have all the information about the materials used to make it. For example, businesses that buy plastic packaging on which the tax should have already been paid, should check that this is being properly accounted for to avoid the possibility of being held liable for any unpaid tax.

The new Plastic Packaging Tax rules are currently before Parliament and not yet law, but the Government is advising eligible businesses to start preparations now. Secondary legislation will be introduced later in the year.

Further details are available here.