Plastics and Taxes: Spain’s 2023 Levy
By Elena Rotzokou, Global EPR Researcher
New laws, amendments, exemptions: crucial updates are expected in the European packaging world. Few are as immediate in their enforcement and far-reaching in their scope as Spain’s Plastic Tax (also known as Act 7/2022, on waste and contaminated soils for a circular economy).
Joining in the growing global trend of introducing green taxes to curb the deleterious use of non-reusable plastic packaging, Spain’s ambitious tax is critical in consolidating the country’s plan of a circular economy through waste regulation, as well as making it a powerful participant in the EU’s and the world’s battle against climate change devastation. The tax transposes into Spanish law the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive.
Announced officially on 8 April 2022 and scheduled to come into force on New Year’s Day, 2023, the Plastic Tax charges 0.45 euros per kilogram on the following types of products: any non-recycled plastic contained in non-reusable packaging, semi-finished plastic products such as thermoplastic sheets or preforms, and products containing plastic intended for the closure, marketing, or presentation of non-reusable containers.
The obligated parties are traders and companies that are producers, importers, or intra-community acquirers of in-scope products. In the case of manufacture or production, the tax point rule occurs at the time that the first delivery is made or made available to the purchaser. With advance payments, the tax is due when the partial or total collection of the price is received. In the instance of imports, the tax is due at the time that an actual import is made at customs. As for intra-community acquisitions, the tax should be paid by the 15th day of the month following the one that marks the transport initiation or by the time that the invoice is issued, depending on which takes place first.
Taxpayers need to register in a special registry and report on the amount of tax debt monthly or quarterly (depending on their net turnover) for the purposes of manufacturing and importing. In the meantime, precise reporting requirements are under development and will be prescribed in accordance with regulations for customs debt. Taxpayers not established in Spanish territory will be required to appoint a natural or legal representative that will act on their behalf before the tax administration to settle their obligations vis-à-vis the tax.
At the moment, the law includes several exemptions. Out of scope are imports and intra-community acquisitions of non-reusable plastic packaging weighing less than 5kg per month; plastic packaging dispatched outside the Spanish borders; medicines, sanitary products, sanitary hazardous waste, and special medical meals.
With a law as sweeping as this, it is of paramount importance that obligated businesses assess their compliance duties carefully and stay alert to updated guidance by the Spanish Ministry for Ecological Change and Demographic Challenges and the country’s tax authorities. Evaluation of and adherence to legal duties can be a major challenge without professional guidance; this is where Ecovertias comes in.
Our Global EPR team has been researching and keeping a detailed record of packaging legislation the world over. If you are anticipating your production or distribution to be impacted by the Spanish Plastic Tax, reach out to Ecoveritas and we will educate you on your obligations.