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5-cent plastic bag tax for 5 Virginia localities to begin next month

WJLA – Washington D.C. logo WJLA – Washington D.C. 12/15/2021 Ida Domingo
© Provided by WJLA – Washington D.C.

Grocery stores, drugstores and convenience stores located in the counties of Fairfax or Arlington and the cities of Alexandria, Fredericksburg and Roanoke, can start collecting a new 5-cent tax for each disposable plastic bag they provide to their customers starting Jan. 1, 2022.

Earlier this year, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation allowing localities to adopt the tax. Lawmakers say this will help fund environmental initiatives in those localities.

RELATED | Arlington County, Alexandria approve 5-cent tax on plastic bags

“For the retailers affected by this new tax, it may feel like a big change,” said Tax Commissioner Craig M. Burns. “As a result, we have been working hard to make the new process as straightforward as possible for these businesses.”

Retailers affected by the new tax will not need to charge the tax on other types of plastic bags, such as:

  • Durable plastic bags, with handles, that are specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuses and that are at least 4 mils thick;
  • Plastic bags that are solely used to wrap, contain, or package ice cream, meat, fish, poultry, produce, unwrapped bulk food items, or perishable food items in order to avoid damage or contamination;
  • Plastic bags used to carry dry cleaning or prescription drugs; or
  • Multiple plastic bags sold in packages and intended for use as garbage, pet waste, or leaf removal bags.

SEE ALSO | Dry cleaners hit hard by price spike for hangers now calling on customers to recycle

Affected businesses can report the tax collected on their sales and use tax returns. 

For more information on the tax guidelines, go here.

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