This is a freeview 'At a glance' guide to Plastic Packaging Tax.

What is Plastic Packaging Tax? Who does it apply to?

Subscribers: please see Plastic Packaging Tax, subscriber guide

  • Plastic Packaging Tax applies to finished plastic packaging components manufactured in or imported into the UK containing less than 30% recycled plastic when measured by weight. 
  • It applies to businesses that manufacture or import plastic packaging components or import packaged goods into the UK.
  • The tax will be £200 per tonne.
  • 'Small operators’ who manufacture or import less than 10 tonnes of plastic packaging in a 12-month period are exempted from the charge. 
  • There are anti-avoidance rules dealing with the artificial separation of business activities to avoid the tax.
  • It applies from 1 April 2022.

Further exemptions are available where the packaging:

  • Is used for the immediate packaging of medicinal products as defined by regulation 2 of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 (S.I. 2012/1916).
  • Is used for transport packaging for imported goods.
  • Is packaging used as aircraft, ship and railway stores for international journeys.
  • Is for use other than as components that are permanently designated or set aside for use other than a packaging use, other than for the containment, protection, handling, delivery or presentation of goods.
  • Is exported or intended for export within 12 months, unless as transport packaging for exported goods. Where tax has been paid and the related plastic components are then exported, credit or repayment will be available for the tax paid.

Certain plastic components are not subject to the tax such as:

  • Toolboxes.
  • First aid boxes.
  • Glasses cases.
  • CD, DVD and video game cases.
  • Water cartridge filters.
  • Printer or toner cartridges.
  • Inhalers.
  • Shop fittings.

Who pays the tax?

  • Where the packaging or component is produced in the UK it is the producer (manufacturer) who pays the tax.
  • Where it is imported to the UK it is the person on whose behalf the packaging or component is imported who pays.


Businesses will be required to register with HMRC. The taxpayer will have a 30 day notification period to notify HMRC of the need to register. The notification period starts when:

  • There are reasonable grounds to believe that in the next 30 days, the threshold of 10 tonnes will be surpassed.
  • The threshold of 10 tonnes was surpassed in the previous 12 months.

A group can nominate one member to deal with registration for all group companies.

  • The 10 tonne threshold applies per group company and each company must separately register for the tax, there is no group registration available.

If a company ceases to meet the conditions for registration they will be able to cancel their registration. More details are expected about the process for cancellation.

Useful guides on this topic

Plastic Packaging Tax: subscriber guide
Subscriber guide to Plastic Packaging Tax

Plastic Packaging Tax policy design
Consultation following the 2020 Budget

Carrier Bag Tax
A 5p single-use plastic carrier bag tax was introduced in England in October 2015. From 21 May 2021, it was increased to 10p and extended to all retailers, regardless of size. 

External links

Finance Act 2021

HMRC guidance 

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