Sugar Tax Revenue Falls Short of Expectations for Third Consecutive Year

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Sugar taxes are 'sustainable and effective', say US researchers

In a development marking the upcoming third anniversary of the sugar tax implementation, it has been revealed that budget revenues from the levy have consistently fallen below government projections. Introduced on January 1, 2021, the sugar tax, primarily targeting sweetened beverages, aimed to influence consumer behavior towards healthier choices while concurrently contributing additional funds to support the healthcare system.

The sugar tax structure comprises a fixed and variable component. The fixed portion imposes a charge of 50 groszy per liter for drinks containing sugar or sweeteners, with an additional 10 groszy for those containing caffeine and/or taurine. The variable element introduces a charge of 5 cents for each gram of sugar exceeding 5 grams per 100 ml per liter of the beverage.

Initially conceptualized by the Ministry of Health to encourage healthier dietary habits among the Polish population, the sugar tax also aspired to financially bolster the healthcare system, allocating 96.5% of funds to the National Health Fund and the remaining 3.5% to the state budget.

However, recent data from the Ministry of Finance, as reported by Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, indicates a concerning trend. Budget revenues from the sugar tax have experienced a consecutive decline for the second year in a row, contradicting the Ministry of Health’s optimistic projections. Entrepreneurs reportedly paid PLN 1.4 billion between January and November of the current year, reflecting a 10% decrease compared to the previous year and a substantial shortfall from the anticipated PLN 3 billion annually.

Further complicating matters, the number of entities participating in the sugar tax system has also dwindled. According to reports, 604 taxpayers submitted the sugar fee forms by October, a notable decrease from the 650 entities recorded in the preceding year.

As stakeholders evaluate the effectiveness and consequences of the sugar tax, discussions are likely to ensue regarding potential adjustments to the existing framework or the need for alternative strategies to achieve the intended health and financial outcomes.

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