Am I liable for the plastic tax?


Who does the plastic tax affect?

The plastic tax will impact businesses differently depending on their position in the supply chain; this can be separated into direct and indirect costs.

It is estimated that the plastic tax will impact 20,000 manufacturers and importers of plastic packaging.

Directly impacted

Direct costs apply to businesses as follows, whom would pay the cost of the tax and register with HMRC:

  • Importers of finished goods in plastic packaging
  • Importers of empty plastic packaging
  • UK plastic packaging manufacturers

Indirectly impacted

Indirect costs are applied where the tax has been paid higher up the supply chain, therefore, the cost of products increase for everyone subsequently handling the material. This would include the following parties: 

  • Businesses selling or handling products in plastic packaging
  • Consumers
  • Waste management companies

Who is liable for the plastic tax?

Liability sits primarily at one of two parties in the supply chain depending on the source of the material:

For plastic packaging imported into the UK – The business who first takes ownership of the packaging in the UK would be liable.

For plastic packaging manufactured in the UK – The first business who manufactures a finished plastic packaging component would be liable.

What classes as a liable plastic packaging component?

  • A finished piece of packaging where plastic is the majority material by weight
  • Components are reviewed separately so a bottle and a cap would be treated as individual components, despite forming part of the same finished consumer product

How do we register for Plastic Packaging Tax?

Register for Plastic Packaging Tax

Register a group of companies for Plastic Packaging Tax


  1. Online services may be slow during busy times
  2. Sign in using Government Gateway user ID and password
  3. You can save your progress as you complete the registration
  4. You can make updates and change some of the registration details once submitted e.g. for groups

Government guidance

HMRC document: Check if you are liable and need to register for Plastic Packaging Tax

HMRC document: Check if your plastic packaging is in scope of the Plastic Packaging Tax

HMRC guidance: Packaging in and out of scope of Plastic Packaging Tax

If you need further advice to determine your plastic tax liability and/or support in managing your tax liability, contact our Policy Team on 01756 794 951 or email at