Guide on the new plastic packaging tax

Guide on the new plastic packaging tax

Key points of the regulation that, from 1 January 2023, will tax the use of non-reusable plastic packaging imported into Spain, per kilogram of non-recycled plastic

Rhenus Group,  as a logistics partner of producing and importing companies in sectors such as industry, food, automotive or textile, among many other businesses that will be affected by the new plastic packaging tax, which entered force in Spain on 1/1/2023, has prepared a guide with the information provided by the Agencia Tributaria (in Spanish) to summarise the most fundamental elements of this tax to understand who and how it affects. It also outlines the main steps to follow to ensure compliance and avoid the imposition of fines.

Which law regulates it, and for what purpose?

The tax on non-reusable plastic packaging is addressed in Chapter I of Title VII of Law 7/2022 of 8 April on waste and contaminated soils for a circular economy (articles 67 to 83). Its purpose is to encourage the prevention of the generation of non-reusable plastic packaging waste and to promote the recycling of plastic waste.

When does it enter into force? 

From 1 January 2023.

What does this tax apply to?

  • Non-reusable packaging containing non-recycled plastic.
  • Semi-finished plastic products intended for the production of non-reusable packaging containing plastic, such as preforms or thermoplastic sheeting.
  • Products containing plastics for the closure, placing on the market or presentation of non-reusable packaging.
  • Non-reusable packaging made of more than one material containing plastic shall be taxed on the amount of non-recycled plastic it contains.

And on which products? 

The list of products included in the tax is extensive and affects a wide range of economic sectors. It covers everything from food trays or tetrabriks, to protective film for pallets, paint cans or spools of thread, among many others. Find out more examples of products affected by the new tax.  

Are any products exempted from compliance with this regulation?

Yes, the tax will not affect the following products:   

  • Products linked to medicines, sanitary products, foodstuffs for medical purposes, infant formulae for hospital care, or hazardous waste of sanitary origin.
  • Plastic rolls used in the ensilage of fodder or cereals for agricultural or livestock use.

More information on the specific cases of exemption developed by the Agencia Tributaria. 

Which companies will be obliged to pay the tax?

Manufacturers, importers and intra-Community purchasers of the products involved in the tax.

What should they do?

Here you will find a summary of the principal obligations for companies affected by the new plastic tax: 

  • Register in the territorial register of the excise duty on non-reusable plastic packaging:

The most immediate step for companies is to inscribe themselves in this register. From the date of entry into force of the Ministerial Order that regulates the register, still being processed, they will have a maximum period of 30 days to compulsorily register. 

Importers do not have to register because they pay the tax when they import. Only those who are not established in the Spanish territory must do so by appointing a representative who will have to register. 

Manufacturers and purchasers are under obligation because they are going to carry out a self-assessment of the tax. 

It may be requested from 1 December 2022.

  • Certify the amount of non-recycled plastic in products:

The taxable base of the tax is the amount of non-recycled plastic, expressed in net kilos, which must be certified by an accredited entity or the manufacturer's responsible declaration.

From 2024 onwards, the amount of recycled plastic contained in products falling within the target scope of the tax must be certified by an accredited body. In turn, the certifying bodies must be accredited by the National Accreditation Body (ENAC) or by the national accreditation body of any other Member State of the European Union.


How is the tax amount to be paid calculated? 

  • Paying the tax:

Manufacturers and intra-Community purchasers must submit the self-assessment of the tax due within the first twenty calendar days following the end of the settlement period. They must also pay the tax debt between the 1st and 15th days. The settlement period is quarterly; it will be monthly for taxpayers with a monthly VAT settlement period.

In the case of importers, the tax will be settled by customs following the provisions for customs debt in the customs regulations. The import SAD must state the kilograms of non-recycled plastic contained in the products subject to the tax and, where applicable, whether the exemption applies as the total weight of non-recycled plastic contained in the imported products does not exceed 5 kilograms per month.

  • Accounting obligations: 

Manufacturers must keep stock records of the products manufactured and, where appropriate, of the raw materials needed to obtain them.

Intra-Community purchasers must keep stock records.

Consult in detail all the obligations to be fulfilled by companies affected by the tax. 

What are the penalties for non-compliance? 

  • Erroneous certification of the amount of non-recycled plastic will result in an initial penalty of 75% of the remaining fees payable, in addition to these, for a minimum of 1,000 euros, and increasing by a further 25% if there are repeated tax infringements within two years.
  • Non-registration implies a fine of 1,000 euros. 
  • Improper use by purchasers implies a proportional monetary fine of 150percent of the tax benefit improperly used, with a minimum amount of 1,000 euros.
  • Incorrect entry on the invoice or certificate of the data referred to in Article 82.9 entails a fixed fine of 75 euros for each invoice or certificate issued with the incorrect entry.

What customs formalities does the tax involve? 

If you are supplying products affected by this tax, to a Spanish customer, please familiarise yourself with the new regulation.  Your client should also prepare accordingly and can find all necessary information by visiting the webpage of the Agencia Tributaria - new customs regulations implemented by the Agencia Tributaria (in Spanish).