The UK'S landfill site operators are set to lose money unless they change the terms and conditions of their contracts with waste producers to take into account the introduction of the new landfill tax.
The warning comes from tax lawyer Richard Woolich at Nabarro Nathanson. Speaking at a recent national tax conference, he said: "Site operators should make it clear in contracts entered into on or after 1 October 1996 that the customer must pay the landfill charge plus an amount equal to the landfill tax.
"Failure to do so would result in the landfill operator having to bear the brunt of the tax himself," said Woolich.
A special rule has been introduced that helps construction companies to pass on the cost of landfill tax to their clients, the ultimate producer of the waste.
Although the tax has a number of exemptions covering pet cemeteries, dredged waste, mine and quarry waste, Customs & Excise is still consulting on an exemption for historically contaminated land.
Nabarros environment partner Mike Renger said: "The tax will impose increased costs on industry and is likely to lead to disputes over distinctions between exempt and non-exempt disposals and between disposals taxable at the lower and higher rates." He added: "It remains to be seen if the tax will bring improvements in environmental behaviour."