€4.5 billion of environment-related taxes were collected in 2020, a drop of 10% on 2019.

The main reason for this fall in taxes paid relates to the effects of the lockdowns on foot of the Covid-19 pandemic, with substantial falls occurring in energy taxes (mainly taxes on transport fuels) and transport taxes associated with a fall in vehicle registration tax.

Energy taxes accounted for 62% of total environment taxes in 2020 with another 38% coming from transport taxes (including motor tax and vehicle registration tax).

CSO environment tax data

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has published an analysis of environment taxes by category of tax and economic sector of the payee.

The categories of these taxes are: energy; transport; pollution; and resource.

An environment tax, as defined by Regulation (EU) No 691/2011, is a tax “whose tax base is a physical unit [or a proxy of a physical unit] of something that has a proven, specific negative impact on the environment, and which is identified in the European System of Accounts as a tax”.

The CSO data shows that environmental taxes were €4.2 billion in 2011 and rose to €5.2 billion in 2017, before falling to €4.5 billion in 2020. These taxes as a percentage of total environment taxes were 9.1% in 2011.

This number has been falling steadily since then, accounting for 6.1% of total taxes in 2020.

Energy taxes were €2.7 billion in 2011, increasing to €2.8 billion in 2020.

Last year, taxes on transport fuels (hydrocarbon oils) accounted for 64.9% of energy taxes while the combined carbon tax, carbon credits and the Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy accounted for 30.2% of energy taxes.

Pollution (taxes levied on emissions to air and water, management of solid waste and noise) and resource taxes increased from €63 million in 2011 to €67 million in 2012 before falling back to €11 million in 2020.

In 2020, the plastic bag and landfill levies were €4 million and €7 million respectively.

Environment taxes levied on agriculture

Environmental taxes levied on agriculture were €0.06 billion in 2011, representing a 1.4% share of total environmental taxes. These figures were the same in 2020.

Environmental taxes levied on industry were €0.5 billion in 2020. The percentage share was 11.7% of total environment taxes.

In 2020, household environmental taxes fell back €2.5 billion from €3.1 billion in 2015. The 2020 figure represented a 54% share of total environment taxes.