From 1 April 2022, the Plastic Packaging Tax (“PPT”), designed to incentivise businesses to use recycled plastic in the manufacture of plastic packaging, will be levied against all plastic packaging produced in, or imported into, the UK which contains less than 30% recycled plastic (subject to certain exemptions).
A rate of £200 per metric tonne will be payable on plastic packaging falling within the scope of the tax. The charge will arise when a chargeable plastic packaging component is produced in, or imported into, the UK by a person acting in the course of a business. Where the tax is imposed by virtue of the production of a plastic packaging component in the UK, the business which performs the last substantial modification will be liable to pay the tax. Where the tax is imposed by virtue of the importation of the plastic packaging component, the importer who imports plastic packaging components which have already undergone their last substantial modification will be liable to pay the tax. This tax will impact any business that manufactures, modifies, purchases or imports plastic packaging into the UK.
To determine whether taxable material is imported or produced by a business, all manufacturers and importers of plastic packaging will need to determine if they produce or import more than 10 metric tonnes of such packaging in any rolling 12 month period. If they do, they are required to register with HMRC.
HMRC has recently published guidance that has force of law in relation to the PPT. The guidance can be found here and covers a range of administrative and technical issues for the new tax, including the determination of plastic and recycled content, meaning of "substantial modification", what amounts to sufficient evidence for cancellation of tax liability, and definitions of the technical methods used to calculate recycled content.
Prior to 1 April, if you are a manufacturer and/or importer of plastic packaging you are advised to visit GOV.UK and work through the 8 steps listed, to determine whether you will need to register for PPT. Organisations manufacturing or importing more than 10 tonnes of plastic packaging into the UK per annum will need to register with HMRC via their online portal GOV.UK, which opens on 1 April. Businesses will have 30 days to register for the tax from the date they become liable.
Businesses need to ensure that it is clear in their supply chain who is responsible for the payment of tax. Importation, manufacture or final stage of the manufacturing process (adaptation of the finished product) are potential taxable stages.
Tax returns covering the period of 1 April – 30 June will need to filed by July 2022. Companies who do not fall within scope of the tax are advised to implement controls to ensure that their activity in relation to plastic packaging does not exceed the 10 tonne limit over a 12 month period.
For further information, please see our previously published articles:
Plastic and packaging waste laws in the UK | CMS Expert Guide
Draft legislation published to introduce the UK’s Plastic Packaging Tax (cms-lawnow.com)
Packaging, Plastics and Waste: Significant UK Proposals Announced (cms-lawnow.com)