The tax in Spain on non-reusable plastic packaging

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Expert Opinion
February 13, 2023

Do you have doubts about whether your company is affected by the special tax in Spain on non-reusable plastic packaging? We can help you.

Barely one month after the new Special Tax on non-reusable plastic containers (hereinafter, “IPNR”) there are still many companies and businesses that are raising questions over their obligations regarding this tax.

The scope and commotion caused by this unprecedented tax, in which there is no shortage of doubts and issues to resolve, has caused great concern within the plastics sector and the companies that operate within it. For this reason, it is important to understand the business activities affected and, in equal measure, the origin, destination and amount of material concerned.

What is the objective of the special tax on non-reusable plastic packaging?

The purpose of the IPNR is to promote a reduction in the manufacture of non-reusable plastic packaging, as well as encourage the recycling of this waste, contributing to a more circular economy. In other words, it seeks to discourage virgin plastic and non-reusable plastic containers and products. The tax is levied on the following activities in relation to any of the products included within scope of the Tax as described in article 68 of Law 7/2022 in its different sections:

  • Manufacture
  • Importation
  • Intracommunity Acquisition (hereinafter, “ICA”).

Additionally, as a safeguard, the Law also establishes, as an activity subject to this Tax, the undocumented introduction of products into Spanish territory, to ensure that non-compliance does not go unnoticed or, more importantly, untaxed.

Companies affected by the tax in Spain on non-reusable plastic packaging

In accordance with the foregoing, a precise idea of the subjects that the legislator had in mind when designing this Tax has been advanced. In terms of who is subject to the tax, the individuals and businesses referred to in section 4 of article 35 of Law 58/2003, of December 17, General Taxation, will be taxpayers and hold the status of:

1. Manufacturer

For example: a business dedicated to the production and manufacture of plastic bottles to store beverages, which sells to major soft drinks company; a factory dedicated to the production of thermoplastic sheets and preforms, which it sells to a handling company so that it shapes them; or a company that is dedicated exclusively to the production of plastic bottlecaps that also delivers to the major soft drinks brand.

2. Importer

For example: a fruit distributor that imports a plastic film cover from China to wrap and protect its products, a company that is dedicated to the assembly of automotive parts that imports parts wrapped in protective bubble wrap from Mexico, or a candy store that imports plastic-wrapped confectionary from Switzerland.

3. Intra-community acquirer

For example, a restaurant franchise that purchases cheese from France that comes in plastic containers or wrapped in plastic, a technology store that purchases plastic sheets for smartphones and computers from Germany, or a winemaker buying tetra brik packs from a company in Italy for their beverages.

4. Unauthorised importer

Any person who owns, markets, transports or uses the products that are included in the objective scope of the Tax but does not prove that they have been manufactured, imported or acquired in Spain.

Finally, if your company or business falls under any of the taxpayers described above, you will take account of the material you use, the function and destination of the product(s) and the amount that is imported or acquired, however, if the material is recyclable, leaves the territory of application or does not exceed a certain amount, you will not be considered liable for the Special Tax on Non-Reusable Plastic Containers.

How can we help you?

At Ayming we advise and accompany our clients throughout the entire strategic and preparation process required by this new Tax, since the objective scope of the Tax is very broad and not only affects manufacturers of plastics or packaging but also anyone bringing these products into Spain. We analyze the operations of our clients, assessing the degree to which it affects their business model, and act accordingly to provide the best response and solution.

Take the first step and contact!

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