HMRC outlines items within scope of Plastic Packaging Tax

Yesterday (10 January), HMRC released a list of examples of the types of packaging that fall inside and outside the scope of the Plastic Packaging Tax.

Packaging balesPlastic packaging designed for use at any stage in the supply chain is listed as within the scope of the tax, HMRC citing single-use bottles, film designed to protect produce, and film designed to protect a product box and contents as examples, amongst others.

Examples of packaging types that are excluded by this definition and do not meet the requirement for tax include food storage boxes designed to be reused, plastic cutlery, and bags for life.

Plastic packaging designed as single-use consumer packaging also falls under the remit of the tax, with plastic bags, disposable cups, disposable plastic bowls and plates listed as examples, alongside other items.

Examples of packaging types excluded by this definition, therefore not meeting the requirement for tax, include disposable nappies, urine bags, and cutlery.

HMRC additionally lists categories of packaging that fall outside of the scope of the Plastic Packaging Tax.

Plastic packaging where the primary function is for storage does not fall within the scope of the tax, with HMRC listing toolboxes, first aid kits, and earphone/earbud cases as examples within this category, amongst others.

Plastic packaging that is an integral part of goods also does not fall within the scope of the tax, with examples including inhalers, tea bags, and coffee capsules.

Further categories listed include plastic packaging to be reused primarily for presentation (e.g. shop fittings, sales display shelves, and reusable meal trays) and transport packaging (material that is used to both: transport multiple sales units or grouped packaging, and prevent damage during transportation).

Originally announced in 2018, the tax is set to be introduced in April. Set at £200 per tonne, it will apply to all domestically-manufactured or imported packaging containing less than 30 per cent recycled content.

The 2020 budget saw Rishi Sunak set a minimum threshold for the tax at 10 tonnes of packaging produced per year to protect small businesses from disproportionate charges. The tax was also extended to apply to the importation of filled packaging.

Related Articles