ITALIAN MACSI AND THE NEVER-ENDING DEFERRING TAX
Aimed to reducing the consumption of disposable plastic items, the 2020 Italian Budget Law has introduced a new consumption tax that should have come into force in July 2020: since there it has been deferred to January 2021, then postponed to the following year and, again to 2023. The current effective date is January 2024 – who will bet on that?
To reduce the consumption of plastic disposable items, the Italian Law n. 160/2019 rushed to introduce a new consumption tax in application of article 4 of Directive 2019/904/EU. In the provisions of the "plastic tax", the so-called MACSI are defined as follow:
intended to stock, protect, manipulate or delivery of generic goods or food products;
not designed to make multiple transfers during their life cycle nor to be reused for the same purpose for which they were designed;
manufactured – even partially – by plastic materials consisting of organic polymers of both synthetic and non-synthetic origin;
obtained by PET molding, also called preforms, which are intended to be used as containers for drinks or bottles, through a particular blowing process;
With the aim of promoting the "circular" approach in the management of the plastic supply chain, the legislator has in fact excluded from this tax all compostable MACSI and those obtained through recycling processes.
Just like other products subject to excise duty, a MACSI or, as said, the portion of it, it is taxable in cases of production and introduction into the national territory with a rate per Kg of 0,45 €
Awaiting the effective start of this environmental levy, the first payments and related quarterly returns are expected to be received by the Italian Custom by the 30th of April 2024. The regulation must be supplemented with reference to both substantive and procedural aspects.
The subjects required to fulfil the obligations, depending on the origin of the MACSI, can be:
the Italian manufacturer, for MACSI produced in Italy;
the Italian economic operator who buys MACSI from another EU Member State;
the EU economic operator who sells MACSI to a private consumer;
the importer, for MACSI received from extra-UE countries.
For the moment, it remains very difficult to identify single-use products by their end use. The seller must be aware of the end use of the product to identify if it will be subject to the tax. In fact, some products can be designed and used for multiple use and so purchased respectively as disposable containers or as multiple-use products. More problems arise when a wholesaler trades those items to other subjects who could use/sell them for different activities.
Since plastic is a product not subject to harmonized excise duty, another relevant point is referred to the risk of incompatibility profiles. Even if Directive no. 2020/262/EU allows Member States to apply taxes on products other than those subject to excise duty, the levying of such taxes may not, in trade between Member States, give rise to formalities connected with the crossing of frontiers.
Updates will follow; hopefully not for a deferment!