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Landfill Tax Consultation Opens on Illegal Waste Sites

A consultation has opened on whether to bring illegal waste sites within the scope of landfill tax in England and Northern Ireland. The plans were announced in the Spring Budget in a bid to tackle waste crime.

The government would like to gain views from a wide range of interested parties, particularly those individuals and organisations that may be indirectly or directly affected by illegal waste sites in England and Northern Ireland, or those that have a particular interest in Landfill Tax.

Issued by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) on 20 March 2017, the consultation sets out the reasons for targeting illegal waste sites and considers:

• How to define an illegal waste site.
• The criteria for determining a taxable disposal.
• The persons liable for the tax.
• How to quantify the amount of tax due.
• The Scottish and Welsh governments approach to illegal waste sites.

The aim of the proposal is to deter non-compliance with the waste regulations by making waste crime less profitable, reinforce ‘the polluter pays’ principle and provide HMRC with an effective means of pursuing and penalising those involved in the disposal of material at illegal sites.

The consultation document states the government does not want to increase the burden on legitimate operators unnecessarily, and so is “seeking views on how the government could introduce these changes in the most effective way, without any unfair or unintended outcomes.”

Landfill Tax was introduced in 1996 to act as a deterrent to landfilling material and encourage the use of more environmentally friendly alternatives. The government says that landfilling has gone down more than 60 per cent since the introduction of the tax in the UK.

Landfill Tax is due on material disposed of at landfill sites in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that have an environmental permit or licence for waste disposal. The tax is collected from operators or controllers of a landfill site based upon the weight and type of material. The Treasury confirmed in the Spring Budget that the standard rate of landfill tax will be set at £86.10 per tonne, and the lower rate at £2.70 from 1 April.

HMRC will publish a summary of responses in summer 2017. Should the decision be taken to proceed, a technical consultation will take place on the draft legislation in the forthcoming Finance Bill 2017/18. If the government proceeds with a change of policy, it will not come into effect until April 2018 at the earliest.

The consultation runs for eight weeks and respondents have until 5 May 2017 to submit their views. You can view the  document and respond to the consultation online.

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