Sugar Sweetened Drinks Tax (SSDT)

Taxable sugar sweetened drinks

What products are taxable?

Ready to consume drinks are liable to Sugar Sweetened Drinks Tax (SSDT) if they satisfy three criteria:

  • They are classified within particular headings of the Combined Nomenclature (CN) of the European Union. The relevant headings, CN 2009 and CN 2202, cover juices and water and or juice based drinks.
  • They contain added sugar.
  • The total sugar content of the drink must be five grams or more per 100 millilitres.

Up to 1 January 2019 plant protein drinks and drinks containing milk fats, that fall within CN Code 2202, were specifically excluded from the scope of SSDT.

From 1 Jan 2019 these drinks continue to be excluded from taxation if they satisfy a minimum calcium content threshold. These drinks are not subject to SSDT where labelled information indicates a calcium content of at least 119 milligrams per 100 millilitres.

Examples of liable ready to consume sugar sweetened drinks within CN Code headings 2202 and 2009 include:

  • flavoured waters
  • carbonated drinks
  • energy or sports drinks
  • juice based drinks
  • drinks containing milk fats with less than 119 milligrams of calcium per 100 millilitres (from 1 January 2019)
  • soya, cereal, seed or nut based drinks with less than 119 milligrams of calcium per 100 millilitres (from 1 January 2019)

with added sugar and a total sugar content of five grams or more per 100 millilitres.

Specific products falling under CN 2202 subheadings are excluded from liability. These include:

  • alcohol-free beers and wines
  • products labelled as food supplements.

In addition, any products excluded from EU food labelling obligations on the basis of their small scale production are not liable to the tax. 

Concentrated Sugar Sweetened Drinks are solid or liquid substances that require preparation to produce ready to consume drinks.

Preparation involves the addition of one or more of the following to the concentrated substance, in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions:

  • water
  • ice
  • carbon dioxide.

Concentrated products are liable to SSDT according to the same criteria as ready to consume drinks.

Examples of concentrated Sugar Sweetened Drinks include:

  • concentrated products intended for preparation at catering level to produce ready to consume drinks that are supplied directly to final consumers. Examples are post mix concentrates supplied to cinemas and restaurants.
  • concentrated products intended for ‘home’ preparation to produce ready to consume drinks. Some examples are bottled squashes, cordials and flavoured syrups.

The exclusions from scope of the tax that apply to ready to consume drinks also apply to concentrated products.

For detailed information regarding the Sugar Sweetened Drinks Tax (SSDT) Compliance Procedures, please see further guidance.

Next: Liability