Guidance on the provisions in Part 3 and Part 5 of the Landfill Disposals Tax (Wales) Act 2017 (LDTA).

Organisation:
First published:
11 January 2018
Last updated:

LDTA/3000 Calculating the taxable weight of material and water discounts

Calculating the taxable weight of material and applications for water discounts operate differently from other parts of the UK. This guidance reflects provisions in Part 3 and Part 5 of the Landfill Disposals Tax (Wales) Act 2017 (LDTA).

In particular it provides an overview of calculating the taxable weight of material, including the use of weighbridges, alternative weighing methods and water discount.

It also provides information on the penalties that may be applied for failure to determine weight properly and for applying water discount incorrectly. It also provides information on the penalties that may be applied for failure to register for Landfill Disposal Tax “LDT” (Part 5).

LDTA/3010 Calculation of the taxable weight of material by the landfill site operator – using a weighbridge

Landfill disposals tax is calculated on the basis of the weight of material being disposed of; it is therefore important that weighing is undertaken with due care and attention to ensure the correct amount of tax is paid. It is the responsibility of the landfill site operator to calculate the taxable weight of material in order to determine the amount of tax chargeable.

The landfill site operator must determine the weight of the material in tonnes by using a weighbridge. All material must be weighed on a weighbridge before being disposed of and the WRA would expect in most cases that this will be as the material enters the landfill site. It is not acceptable for material to by-pass the weighbridge or for an alternative method of weighing (LDTA/3070) to be used unless that method has been approved in advance by the WRA.

The weighbridge must meet the requirements in weights and measures legislation that applies to the weighbridge being used, in accordance with The Weights and Measures Act 1985.

The WRA expects landfill site operators to ensure the weighbridge is calibrated and maintained regularly to make certain it is giving an accurate measurement and to minimise the risk of breakdowns.

LDTA/3020 Calculation of the taxable weight of material by the landfill site operator – alternative methods of weighing

The landfill site operator may make an application to the WRA for approval to use an alternative method to determine the weight of the material in a taxable disposal. This recognises that there may be circumstances where it is not possible for a landfill site operator to use a weighbridge. For example, where a landfill site does not have a weighbridge or its weighbridge is temporarily broken.

Landfill site operators wishing to make an application to use an alternative weighing method will need to complete an application form. An alternative weighing method must be approved by the WRA before it can be used.

The WRA will only agree to an alternative method of weighing waste if it is satisfied that the alternative method will produce a fair and reasonable calculation of the weight of material. See LDTA/3070  for further information.

When the WRA receives a completed application and supporting documentation, it will review the application and may seek expert advice from relevant partners such as Natural Resources Wales. Following this review, the WRA will inform the landfill site operator of its decision in writing. It will be possible to review or appeal this decision.

If the WRA approves an application, it will set out the details of the approval, including any conditions and how long the agreement will run for. An approval may relate to all the taxable disposals in respect of which the application is made or particular descriptions (i.e. waste streams). Where the WRA gives approval to use an alternative method to determine the weight of the material, the landfill site operator must use this method in accordance with the agreement. The WRA may check the accuracy of the method used, for example by testing loads during an inspection. The WRA should be notified of any changes to business practices which will affect the reliability of this method. The WRA may vary or revoke an agreement at any time in writing.

The WRA recognises that landfill sites operate outside the operating hours of the WRA. In order to allow sites to operate where a weighbridge breaks outside these hours, landfill site operators are encouraged to apply to the WRA for approval of an alternative weighing method at the time of registration as the use of an alternative weighing method must be approved before it can be used.

LDTA/3030 Discount in respect of water content of material

To receive a discount for water present in material, a landfill site operator must apply to the WRA for approval. This differs to the operation of landfill taxes elsewhere in the UK.

Under LDT, the landfill site operator is accountable for the water discount as the taxpayer and is required to have the proper contracts and processes in place with their customers (waste producers) in order for the taxpayer to be content that they can correctly operate the water discount.

Landfill site operators must ensure that the waste producer has provided all necessary documentation and evidence, as this is required as part of the application process for a water discount approval.

Landfill site operators wishing to make an application for approval to apply a water discount will need to complete an application form.

The circumstances in which the water discount may be applied is restricted to legitimate cases where the adding or use of water is necessary.

The WRA does not consider that the discount should be applied where water is present because of rain or snow, so if a waste producer stores the waste material outside prior to disposal, any additional water present in the material because of rainfall or snowfall should not form part of the water discount.

The WRA will only consider applications where the water is necessarily present in the material for the following purposes:

  • it had to be added to enable the material to be transported for disposal
  • it had to be added to extract a mineral
  • it had to be added in the course of an industrial process, or
  • it arose as a necessary consequence of an industrial process, or
  • the material is a residue from the treatment of effluent or sewage at a water treatment works.

When the WRA receives a completed application and supporting documentation, it will review the application and may seek expert technical advice from relevant partners such as Natural Resources Wales. The WRA may also request a visit to the waste producer as part of the application process. Following this review, the WRA will inform the landfill site operator of its decision in writing. It will be possible to review or appeal this decision.

If the WRA approves an application, it will set out the details of the approval, including any conditions and how long the agreement will run for. The WRA may vary or revoke an agreement at any time in writing. Landfill site operators who receive approval will be required to keep a water discount record noting each taxable disposal in relation to which a discount is applied.

The conditions may require:

  • landfill site operator and/or the waste producer to carry out internal and/or external analysis of the water content present in the material being disposed of under a water discount approval
  • the landfill site operator to inform the WRA if there are any changes in the material which could affect the water discount
  • the waste producers to provide the landfill site operator and the WRA with information and evidence in support of the water discount approval at specified periods
  • the landfill site operator to notify WRA if the tonnages of material exceed specified levels, and
  • the waste producer to inform the landfill site operator and the WRA of any significant changes in the composition of the discounted waste, changes in the waste treatment process, equipment or production methods that produce the discounted material within one month of the changes, as this may result in you having to submit a new application to WRA.

The landfill site operator should engage with WRA as soon as possible in relation to a water discount application. Providing a water discount before obtaining the WRA’s approval is at the landfill site operator’s own risk, as there is no guarantee that the WRA will approve the application or the basis on which it will do so.

A water discount approval will be subject to an annual review. This means that the landfill site operator, in conjunction with the waste producer, must carry out a review of the approved discount and must inform the WRA if the review indicates a difference of more than 2% between what is agreed in the approval and the actual amount of water present in the material. This may require both internal and external analysis. The review must be completed at least a month in advance of the expiry of the approval. The WRA Customer Relationship Manager will issue the relevant form to be completed by the landfill site operator.

Landfill site operators will be required to claim the water discount in their tax return by providing details of the tonnage of water to be discounted for each accounting period.

LDTA/3040 Calculation of the taxable weight of material by WRA

There may be occasions where the WRA considers it appropriate to calculate the taxable weight of material. This may be if a tax return has not been made in respect of the disposal or where the WRA amends a tax return as a result of an enquiry, for example. The WRA will discuss with the landfill site operator where such action is needed.

The WRA may determine the weight of material in a taxable disposal if:

  1. a tax return has not been made in respect of the disposal, or
  2. the WRA amends a tax return as a result of an enquiry and the landfill site operator subsequently calculates the weight of the material and applies the result in making or amending a tax return in respect of that disposal.

The WRA may accept this as the taxable weight of the material if it is satisfied it is accurate.

Where the WRA needs to calculate the weight of the material, it may do so by applying such weighing method as it thinks appropriate and then applying any agreed water discount. However, there are circumstances in which the WRA can disregard a water discount, such as where a tax return has not been made in respect of a disposal, where the WRA considers there to be non-compliance or where an agreed alternative weighing method or water discount has not been properly applied.

LDTA/3050 Penalty for failure to determine weight properly

In addition to potential liability to further LDT where weight is not determined properly, the WRA may impose a penalty if a landfill site operator fails to comply with the duty to use a weighbridge where one is available, or if the weighbridge does not comply with the relevant weights and measures legislation.

The WRA may impose a penalty if it has agreed an alternative weighing method but weighing is not taking place in accordance with the agreement.

The WRA may apply a penalty of up to £500 in respect of each taxable disposal to which the failure relates. The WRA must issue a notice to the landfill site operator of the penalty assessed.

The landfill site operator may also be liable to further penalties under the Tax Collection and Management (Wales) Act 2016, such as penalties for inaccuracies in tax returns and failure to pay tax.

LDTA/3060 Penalty for applying water discount incorrectly

The WRA may impose a penalty if a landfill site operator applies:

  • a discount without having approval from the WRA
  • a discount which is greater than the discount approved by the WRA
  • a breach of one or more of the conditions attached to a WRA-approved water discount

The WRA may apply a penalty of up to £500 in respect of each taxable disposal to which a discount is applied in either of these ways. The WRA must issue a notice to the landfill site operator of the penalty assessed.

The landfill site operator may also be liable to further penalties under the Tax Collection and Management (Wales) Act 2016, such as penalties for inaccuracies in tax returns and failure to pay tax.

LDTA/3070 Alternative weighing methods

WRA may agree an alternative method for calculating the weight of taxable material at its discretion. The following are examples of alternative methods; they are not an exhaustive list.

Specified method 1: maximum permitted weight of container

Description of method

This method involves recording the maximum weight that a vehicle/container such as a lorry, skip, rail wagon etc. is permitted to carry and applying the appropriate rate of tax.

Maximum weights

You can use either the maximum plated weight that the vehicle can carry or the weights specified as specified in the tables below.

You should use the gross plated weight of the vehicle/container less its tare weight.

Any vehicles that are partially filled must be treated as full for your tax calculation purposes.

Lorries without cranes or buckets

Vehicle type Maximum weight
4 axle lorry 20 tonnes
3 axle lorry 15 tonnes
2 axle lorry 10 tonnes

Lorries with cranes or buckets

If a crane or bucket is fitted to a vehicle the maximum weight that can be carried is reduced by 2 tonnes.

Vehicle type Maximum weight
4 axle lorry with grab 18 tonnes
3 axle lorry with grab 13 tonnes
2 axle lorry with grab 8 tonnes

Light goods vehicles, vans or cars

Vehicle type Maximum weight
Light goods vehicles The manufacturer’s plate, usually in the passenger door well, shows the maximum gross weight.
Other cars and vans The vehicle handbook shows the maximum gross vehicle weight of the vehicle. Deduct from this the unladen weight shown in the vehicle handbook to give you the weight that can be carried by the vehicle.

What records to keep

To operate this method you must record all waste brought onto your site(s), showing the identifying number and type of vehicle/container, a description of the waste carried, and the date the waste was disposed at your site. You must also establish an audit trail or register which records the gross weight, net tare weight and maximum carrying weight for each vehicle/container using your site(s) for waste disposal.

Specified method 2 - volume to weight conversion

Description of method

To operate this method you will need to know the cubic capacity of the vehicles (lorry, skip, rail wagon, barge, and so on) that deliver waste to your site. These should be used with the categories of waste and the conversion factors set out below.

To comply with weights and measures legislation the maximum cubic capacity of the container must be a multiple of 0.1 cubic metres. Measurement can only go to one decimal place.

If the calculation results in a tonnage which is greater than the legal carrying capacity of the vehicle, it is to your benefit to use the maximum permitted weight of the container method (Specified Method 1).

Your tax calculations must be based on all containers and vehicles being full.

Conversion factors

Note: if the waste falls into more than one category, the higher conversion factor applies to all of the waste.

Waste category Typical waste types Cubic metres to tonnes - multiply by Cubic yards to tonnes - multiply by
Inactive or inert waste Largely water insoluble and non or very slowly biodegradable, for example, sand, subsoil, concrete, bricks, mineral fibres, fibreglass and so on 1.5 1.15

General industrial waste: non-special, not compacted.

(As compaction can significantly increase the density of this category of waste, if you accept compacted wastes you will need to uplift the conversion factor accordingly.)

Paper and plastics 0.15 0.11
Card, pallets, plasterboard, canteen waste, sawdust, textiles, leather 0.4 0.3
Timber, building and construction wastes, factory waste and sweepings, and so on 0.6 0.46
Foundry sands, slags, pulverised fuel ash, ashes from waste incineration 1.5 1.15
Household waste - not compacted Non-special, non-inert wastes from domestic premises, including collected household waste 0.2 0.15
Household waste - compacted (includes all bulk disposals) Non-special, non-inert wastes from domestic premises, including collected household waste 0.4 0.30

Commercial waste - not compacted.

(As compaction can significantly increase the density of this category of waste, if you accept compacted wastes you will need to uplift the conversion factor accordingly.)

Non-special, non-inert wastes from shops, hospitals, leisure centres, offices, and so on, including civic amenity waste, parks and gardens waste, street litter, supermarket, shop and restaurant waste, general office waste. 0.2 0.15
Special waste Defined by environmental regulations - broadly equivalent to hazardous waste 1.0 0.76

What records to keep

You must record all waste brought onto your site(s), showing the identifying number and type of vehicle/container, a description of the waste carried, and the date disposed at your site. The volume of the vehicle/container must be recorded and evidenced with whatever documentation is available from the haulier.

Specified method 3 - weighing the waste prior to receipt at the site

Description of method

You may accept waste that is weighed away from your landfill site. If there is a clear audit trail including a record of weights for each vehicle, container, wagon, and so on - and they go directly to the site, then this scheme can be used to calculate Landfill Tax.

What records to keep

To operate this method you must record all waste brought onto your site(s), showing where the waste was weighed, the identifying number and type of vehicle/container, a description of the waste, and the date disposed at your site. You must also record and retain the weighbridge tickets.