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Get ready to pay more for plastic bags when you go shopping

| Economic factors

Treasury is looking to raise R363.4 million through a 50% increase to the ‘plastic bag’ levy, the latest budget shows.

Finance minister Malusi Gigaba delivered the 2018 budget on Wednesday, where he said National Treasury would seek to raise R36 billion through additional tax measures to help plug an almost R50 billion revenue gap.

The biggest announcement came in the form of a VAT hike to 15%, which was widely expected among analysts and economists.

However, government also squeezed in several smaller tax increases, including a plastic bag levy, which will be increased by 50% to 12 cents per bag.

The levy was first introduced in 2003 in an attempt to curb the impact of plastic bag pollution in the country’s natural environment. The tax is applied to the manufacturers of the plastic bags, but is ultimately passed onto consumers who have to purchase the bags at till points.

In the budget, Treasury said that the hike in the levy would be to “reduce litter and dissuade consumers from buying plastic bags”.

The proposed increase will push up tax collection from the initially budgeted R253.4 million to R363.4 million in the 2018/19 financial year.

The plastic bag levy, motor vehicle emissions tax and the levy on incandescent light bulbs will all be raised to promote eco-friendly choices.

For a full breakdown of the major tax changes, see: All the major tax changes you need to know about

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