Spanish plastic packaging tax to launch 1 January 2023!

The Spanish Plastic Packaging Tax is an indirect tax levied on the use of non-reusable plastic packaging in Spanish territory.

The tax will be implemented from 1 January 2023 with a tax rate of €0.45 per kg for non-recycled plastic packaging, totalling over €700 million in revenue which will likely be applied to Spain’s EU plastic levy contribution. The Spanish Plastic Packaging Tax shares similarities to the Italian counterpart, which is also due to be implemented from 1 January 2023.

Tax Scope

The tax will be applied to any single use packaging defined as presenting, containing, protecting, handling, or distributing goods, both empty and filled packaging within the scope of the tax. Semi-finished plastic products are also included within the scope of the tax if intended to produce non-reusable packaging (e.g., thermoplastic sheets) along with plastic products aimed to facilitate the closing, trading, or presentation of non-reusable containers. The Spanish authorities have confirmed that all packaging types (primary, secondary, and tertiary packaging) are all considered within scope.

Unlike the UK Plastic Packaging Tax, packaging composed of more than one material will be taxed for the weight of the non-recycled plastic component, even if it is not the majority material. Single use plastic packaging that contains recycled content from either mechanical or chemical recycling is exempt from the tax (no threshold), however recycled content should be certified by an accredited entity to issue accreditation, this may be;

For chemically recycled content the amount should be accredited by the corresponding entity accredited or authorised for such purposes. During the implementation year (2023) Spanish Authorities have confirmed leniency for importers and intra-EU purchasers, who will be allowed to determine recycled content through a statement of responsibility from the manufacturer of plastic packaging.

Some examples of taxable plastic packaging products, identified within the FAQ’s released by the Spanish Government back in September:

Beauty, health and cosmetic
  • Cosmetic product applicators (e.g., mascara brushes that are part of the container closures)
  • Bottles, jerrycans and jugs for hygiene products (e.g., gel, shampoo, soap) and industrial products (e.g., lubricants, disinfectants, herbicides)
  • Single-dose containers for drugstore or cosmetic products (e.g., creams, make-up, welcome products in hotels) or for samples for advertising purposes
Food and beverages
  • Trays used to contain and protect food (e.g., sliced and baked goods, prepared food, fruit, meat, fish
  • Bottles, jerrycans and jugs for food products (e.g., soft drinks, oil, sauces, beverages), designed for single use, even if they can be filled and re-used
  • Single-dose containers for food products (e.g., oil, vinegar, sauces, yoghurts, butter, fruits, eggs, cakes, pastries)
Other purposes
  • Film used to contain, protect, handle, or deliver goods or products (e.g., food, wrap books, magazines, colognes, suitcases, flowers, laundry, phone screens)
  • Blister packs, boxes, cases, and similar products containing a single product or an assortment of products
  • Vacuum packaging bags
Secondary and tertiary packaging
  • Plastic rings that group several units in a pack (e.g., used for beverage cans
  • Packaging tape and film, including film used for a group of sale units or collective packaging (e.g., cigarette cartons, mineral water bottles)
  • Protective bubble film that wraps several sale units
  • Pallet protective film


Non-taxable items

For tax purposes, packaging that forms an integral part of the goods e.g, air fresheners and packaging that is necessary to contain, support or preserve goods through their life cycle or are intended to be used, consumer or disposed with the goods are not included within scope of the tax.

Who is liable?



Production of taxable products (it is not considered manufacturing if only semi-finished plastic products or products containing plastic used for closure, marketing or presentation are used).

Liable point: the tax becomes chargeable with the first delivery or making available within Spanish Territory, or with the total or partial payment if this activity occurs before others. Essentially whatever action is completed first.

Proof of tax paid on invoice: the manufacturer must pass on to the purchaser the amount of tax that has been paid. This information should be included on the invoice through:

  1. The amount of accrued instalments
  2. The amount of non-recycled plastic contained in the products expressed in kg
  3. If exempt, outline which products are exempt
Intra-community acquisition

The obtaining of the power of disposal of products subject to tax transported or dispatched from another Member State of the European Union and destined for the Spanish mainland or the Balearic Islands. Shipments of taxable goods which, with the origin and destination, may be made by an owner to himself are assimilated to intra-Community acquisitions.

Liable point: On the 15th day of the month following that in which the transport or dispatch to the acquirer begins or at the time of issue of the invoice (if this is earlier)

Proof of tax paid on invoice: only required upon request from purchaser


Importer of taxable plastic products into Spanish Territories (including Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla).

Liable point: when the import duties are accrued in accordance with customs legislation

Proof of tax paid on invoice: only required upon request from purchaser


Taxpayers not established in Spanish Territory will be obliged to appoint a natural or legal person to represent them before the tax administration in relation to their obligations for this tax. This appointment must be made prior to carrying out the first activity that constitutes as a taxable event.


Under the scope of the tax are several exemptions:

  • Packaging designed for medicines, health products, food for special medical uses, preparations for infants for hospital use or hazardous waste of sanitary origin.
  • Packaging that is not going to be used and is destroyed e.g., due to inadequacy or fault manufacturing
  • Low volume operators of 5kg or less non-recyclable single use plastic packaging through imports or intra-community, acquisitions does not exceed 5kg per month

The Spanish legislation also recognises agricultural plastic rolls used for bales for silage for example, as exempt.

Further consideration of exports…

The Spanish Authorities have developed a complex system to ensure tax is not paid on non-reusable plastic packaging shipped outside of Spanish Territories by either the intra-community acquirer or by a third party in your name or on your behalf. Whether the tax is paid and refunded or deferred depends on the condition the party sends the packaging abroad:

  • If a Spanish manufacturer exports non-reusable plastic packaging outside of the Spanish Territory > not subject to tax
  • If the owner (not manufacturer) exports non-reusable plastic packaging outside of the Spanish Territory > Taxable but refund once packaging is exported
  • If the intra-EU purchaser sends the non-reusable plastic packaging outside of the Spanish Territory > exemption or deduction (depending on circumstance)
  • If the importer exports non-reusable plastic packaging outside the Spanish Territory > Taxable but refunded once packaging is exported (unless no payment was previously made as goods and/or packaging place under Customs Warehouse Regime)

For further information on European Developments of the Plastic Packaging Tax as well as an update on the UK tax, register on our upcoming webinar;

The UK Plastic Packaging Tax and European developments – keep your business informed into 2023!

Wednesday 25 January at 10am

Click here to register your FREE place!

Comply Direct have supported many UK companies navigate the UK plastic packaging tax. If you would like support with the Spanish or other European Plastic Packaging Tax developments, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with to find the right service for you.

Article References - Spain’s Ministry of Finance and Civil Service documentation: