Packaging tax in the UK and Europe

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Both the UK and the EU have recently brought in packaging taxes which affects some online sellers based on how much packaging they import and where they sell.

Why does Packaging Tax matter?

There is a legal requirement for sellers who meet the requirements to comply, and in some cases, online platforms like Amazon will prevent you from selling until you have completed your registration.

Which countries have a Packaging Tax?

Most European countries have a packaging act. Some, such as the UK, additionally have a Plastic Packaging Tax which came into force April 2022. At the time of writing, Italy and Spain are likely to bring their plastic packaging taxes into effect in 2023. 

Country Minimum amount of packaging waste to register Name of register Maximum penalty for not complying
Germany 0 LUCID €   200,000
Greece 0 EMPA No fines yet on SME
France 0 CITEO € 100,000
Netherlands 50,000 KG OPEN No maximum
Poland 0 BDO € 220,000
Lithuania 0 PPWIS No maximum
Spain 0 ECOEMBES No   maximum
United Kingdom 50,000 KG NPWD No maximum

Do you need to comply?

You are legally required to comply with these acts. In practice, most sellers tend to only have obligations in Germany, France, and Poland, due to the minimum thresholds, as well as the UK since April 2022.

Non-compliance can result in:

  1. fines (see above table)
  2. being prevented from selling by your ecommerce platform

For European compliance, we recommend reaching out to the many digital providers who aid with compliance in this space. Our current recommended provider is Amazonsellers.

Amazon has enforced packaging act registration in Germany

Businesses that sell to German customers have faced suspension by Amazon until they have obtained their German packaging registration. This policy has not been blanket enforced, but this means that a risk of suspension and delays exists for sellers who are active in this marketplace.

UK Plastic Packaging Act

This is the first Plastic Packaging tax to come into effect in Europe that targets ecommerce sellers, and has been in force since 1 April 2022. You can read about the UK Plastic Packaging Tax in depth on HMRC's website

You must register for the Plastic Packaging Tax if you’ve manufactured or imported 10 or more tonnes of finished plastic packaging components within the last 12 months, or will do so in the next 30 days. Plastic Packaging Tax only applies to manufacturers and importers of plastic packaging components which contain less than 30% recycled plastic.

If this affects your business, contact us to see how we can help with your registration and tax return in the UK.

Compliance for ecommerce businesses

We like to keep an eye on all things accounting, tax, and compliance related that affects online sellers.

If you run an ecommerce business and would like to learn more about how we can help you business, we'd love to hear from you. In the meantime, you can read all about how we got started and why we love ecommerce so much!

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