The new Spanish tax on non-reusable plastic packaging, included in Law 7/2022 of April 8 on Waste, Contaminated Land, and Circular Economy, which entered into force on January 1, 2023, has raised several doubts and uncertainties regarding its application in the fruit and vegetable sector. On Wednesday, FEPEX and Garrigues tried to clarify these doubts via a webinar.
The more than 250 participants asked numerous questions that ranged from the definition of "packaging" and which types of packaging are subject to the tax to who is responsible for paying the new tax. They were also curious about the obligation to register in a territorial register, how to pay the tax, accounting obligations, and customs formalities.
According to the partners of Garrigues' Tax Department, Jose Maria Cobos and Bartolomé Ubeda, this new law has a very wide scope since it applies not only to non-recycled plastic packaging but also to secondary and tertiary packaging that contains plastic. In this sense, the law taxes the trays or plastic bags in which food is stored or protected, but also packaging film, protective bubble film, protective film for pallets, meshes, and nets (such as the ones used for fruit), etc.
According to FEPEX, the consequences of the new tax are not only related to the payment of the tax itself but mainly to the entire administrative operation required for its accounting and payment. On the other hand, it places the Spanish sector at a competitive disadvantage as Spain is the only country with this tax. Although Law 7/ 2022 transposes, in general terms, the EU directives related to the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment, there is no Community regulation that obliges imposing tax measures on the use of plastic, and Spain is currently the only Member State to have this tax in force.