Background

The Italian Parliament has approved a new legislation imposing a tax on single-use plastic packaging, aiming to reduce the production and consumption of single-use plastic products (known as MACSI).

The Budget Law originally introduced the tax for the financial year 2020. The measure has now been postponed several times but is now expected to take effect from 1 July 2024.

Plastic Tax measures have already been introduced in Europe in the UK and Spain, and the Italian plastic tax’s design is set to follow a similar model. This includes producers of plastics in Italy having additional responsibilities, including registration, filing tax returns, and paying compliance fees.

Scope

The tax is designed to cover various plastic products, such as bottles, bags, food containers, tetra pack containers, packaging, bubble wrap, caps, and similar items. This applies to single-use plastic products that are entirely or partially composed of synthetic organic polymers.

Importantly, compostable plastics and plastics sourced from recycling processes are exempt from the tax.

Who could be liable for the tax?

Liability for the tax depends on where the MACSI is manufactured or imported from. The below parties are obligated:

If MACSI is manufactured in Italy:

  • Manufacturers.
  • Sellers for any Italian entity that intends to sell MACSI produced on its behalf to other Italian entities.

If MACSI is imported from other EU countries:

  • Buyers when MACSI is sold for business purposes.
  • EU suppliers, if the products are purchased from other EU nations and sold to an individual consumer.

If MACSI is imported from non-EU countries:

  • Importers.

Any obligated entity that is not established in Italy will be required to appoint a tax representative.

Additionally, MACSI imported from non-EU countries will be assessed at the time of importation, conducted by Italian customs.

For any plastic tax amount due below €25, no tax return or payment is required.

Rate

The tax rate is fixed at €0.45 for every kilogram of virgin plastic present in MACSI.

Non-Compliance Consequences

Penalties can be expected of two to five times the amount of the unpaid tax, with late payments incurring a fee of 25%.

If your business is supplying plastic packaging to Italy, it is strongly advised that you prepare in time to meet the 1st of July implementation date to avoid any risks of non-compliance.

Registrations are to be managed via logging into your personal area on the Italian Customs Agency website. Detailed instructions are still expected to be posted.

Published May 6, 2024