The new Plastic Tax, introduced by the 2020 Budget Law, is aimed at reducing the use of single-use plastic products and promote recycling and the production of compostable items.
Our Managing Partner and Head of Tax, Alessandro Dragonetti, was interviewed by Americo Mancini, a journalist of the TV program “Sportello Italia”, and he commented on the impact of the new tax on the Italian economic environment basing on the results of a survey conducted by Grant Thornton.
- Which are the main findings of this survey?
"The results are non-comparable, as all the estimates made by the Italian parliament were based on the assumption of levying 1 Euro per Kg of plastic starting from January 2020, whereas the tax will enter into force starting from 1 July and be equal to 0.45 Euro/Kg.
The tax revenue is extremely interesting for the Revenue Office, as estimates reach 485 million Euro with a strong incidence particularly in Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia Romagna, alone making up half of the total revenue.
The importance of the new tax in terms of revenues for the State is significant, but from an employment perspective, it could give rise to some issues – consider that the relevant industry - considering only the plastic processing sector - includes 5,000 companies and 110,000 employees with 15 billion Euro turnover."
- At the beginning Emilia Romagna was considered as the region to suffer the worst impact, but Lombardy turned out to be the one to bear the highest tax increase and generate most revenues.
"Emilia Romagna is of course very active in the packaging sector. But, if we consider plastic transformation in general – as the tax will be applied to single-use products, not to compostable ones – Lombardy clearly remains – as for all other Italian industries, with the sole exception of tourism, probably – the territory with the highest value of production and, thus, the one to bear the highest incidence."
- Is it better a tax or an incentive?
"Let’s say that if we consider the measures introduced by other Countries, incentives would have a higher “educational” value than taxes; if we consider Italians in particular, tax is often synonym with finding a loophole, whereas an incentive would be seen as a common effort.
Taxes are never welcomed and rather seen as a deterrent, while incentives are always considered more positively, also by those who have to contribute."
- So the introduction of taxes didn't work in other Countries?
"Taxes generate revenues but do not raise awareness and create a positive culture, incentives instead create culture and might be more effective in helping to solve the problem in the long-term."
- Would you maintain or eliminate the new plastic tax?
"If the aim is that mentioned in EC Directive 2019/904 i.e. reduce plastic consumption, the tax could be useful while we wait for further measures to be introduced. But in a long-term perspective, I would eliminate the tax and introduce incentives or other similar measures.