Disposable plastic bag tax to begin January 1 in Fredericksburg

The Virginia General Assembly passed legislation last year authorizing the new tax of 5 cents per disposable plastic bag supplied to retail customers by grocery stores, drugstores and convenience stores. Fredericksburg City Council passed the tax earlier this year to take effect Jan. 1 in an effort
reduce the use of single-use, disposable plastic bags in the City and promote the use of sustainable multi-use bags by retail businesses and restaurants. This initiative is an extension of the future state desired by the city council for a green and clean environment in which “Fredericksburg is a responsible and modern city with a quality of life guaranteed by thoughtful environmental management”.

Tax will be collected at the point of purchase, similar to sales taxes, and will be administered and enforced by the Virginia Tax Commissioner in Richmond. Large big box retailers such as Walmart or Target will be subject to tax if they contain a grocery store, convenience store, or drugstore.

No retailer will be subject to tax solely because they have a limited number of snacks and beverages available for sale at the cash register. Additionally, according to the state code, the tax will only apply to retailers that maintain regular hours of operation in City. Retailers will be compensated for the costs of collecting and remitting the tax by withholding a portion of the tax collected. Until January 1, 2023, retailers subject to the tax will be able to keep 2 cents for every 5 cents collected. After January 1, 2023, this discount will be reduced to 1 cent per bag.

The 5 cent tax Will not do apply for:
• Durable plastic bags intended for multiple reuse
• Bags that are only used to package ice cream, meat, fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables, bulk unpackaged foods
items or other perishable goods to avoid damage or contamination
• Plastic bags used for dry cleaning or prescription drugs
• Bags that are packaged and sold for use as trash cans, animal waste or leaf bags

State law requires that all revenue from this tax be used for environmental clean-up purposes, offering education programs designed to reduce environmental waste, mitigate pollution and waste, and provide reusable bags for beneficiaries of the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or for women. Benefits of the Infant and Child Program (WIC)

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