A lever for regulating polluting activities, the TGAP (General Tax on Polluting Activities) aims to encourage and promote more sustainable practices, with a view to preserving biodiversity and human health, as well as supporting economic growth.

In particular, the general tax on polluting activities makes it possible to internalize environmental costs according to the “polluter pays” principle, and to finance virtuous projects. It applies to various sectors and activities that generate pollution. Each year, it is adjusted to respond ever more effectively to environmental, economic and social challenges.

Through waste sorting, recovery, recycling, wastewater treatment, improved production processes and the adoption of innovative techniques, companies and industries are encouraged to reduce the negative impact of their activities on the environment.

Here’s an overview.

What is the general tax on polluting activities?

The TGAP is a tax applied to various polluting activities, based on the type and quantity of pollutants released into the environment. This tax aims to reduce the negative impacts of human activities (industrial atmospheric emissions, discharge of toxic substances into water, waste production, etc.) and is part of a broader framework of environmental policies (ecological and energy transition, circular economy, reduction of greenhouse gases, protection of biodiversity, etc.).

Introduced by the Finance Act for 1999 and implemented on 1 January 2000, the TGAP has undergone several changes and adjustments in order to adapt to the many changes (environmental, economic and social). Its scope has been broadened to include a wider range of polluting activities. The tax rates are also revised every year.

Who has to pay the TGAP?

Any company that carries out a polluting activity or uses polluting products is subject to the TGAP. This applies to:

  • Operators of Classified Installations for Environmental Protection (French Environment Code) for the storage (landfill) or thermal treatment (incinerator) of waste, subject to registration or authorisation and receiving waste covered by the TGAP.
  • Companies that transfer or arrange for the transfer of waste from France to another country.
  • Businesses that deliver or use detergents, washing aids, fabric softeners, or extraction materials for the first time. Where a taxable product is delivered several times in France, only the first delivery is subject to tax.

Certain facilities and companies are exempt from TGAP. This is the case for facilities used exclusively for waste produced by the operator, or for authorised industrial effluent injection facilities in the Crétacé 4000 geological structure, located in the Lacq region (Pyrénées-Atlantiques in France).


What types of activity are covered by the TGAP?

The TGAP has four components. Activities that use products covered by one of these four components are therefore subject to the tax. A taxpayer may therefore be liable for several components:

  • TGAP on waste: this applies to hazardous and non-hazardous waste, except for waste subject to material recovery (reuse, recycling, organic recovery, etc.), certain waste subject to energy recovery (heat, electricity, natural gas, etc.), inert or non-recoverable waste received at specifically dedicated facilities, waste previously or otherwise taxed and waste resulting from exceptional or irregular events.
  • TGAP on polluting emissions: this applies, for example, to activities that release sulphur or nitrogen oxides and other sulphur or nitrogen compounds, hydrochloric acid, hydrocarbons or heavy metals.
  • TGAP on detergents: this applies to surfactant-based preparations, auxiliary washing preparations used for soaking, rinsing or bleaching laundry, washing crockery and kitchen utensils, products for dry-cleaning laundry, and certain fabric softeners. Excluded from the scope of application of this component of the TGAP are cleaning preparations and products intended for the maintenance of floors, windows and other surfaces, products intended for laundry but which also have other functions (dye accelerators, fixing agents, etc.) or are intended for other products (paper industry, leather industry, etc.).
  • TGAP on extraction materials: these include materials such as natural sand, pebbles, gravel and crushed stone, granules, chippings and stone powder that meet certain criteria relating to their size, production process and intended use. Excluded are materials resulting from recycling operations, materials composed of at least 97% silicon oxide (content calculated by mass, on dry product) and materials with an “uncertain, unknown or undetermined use or which do not correspond to taxable uses”.

The TGAP on lubricants, oils and lubricating preparations has been abolished since 1 January 2021.

The TGAP: many benefits for the environment

The general tax on polluting activities is an incentive tax designed to bring about structural changes in behaviour in order to improve the environmental performance of businesses and industries. It acts both as a deterrent (the more polluting the activity, the higher the tax) and as a means of promoting concrete action.

In particular, it encourages investment in innovative technologies and more efficient, sustainable production processes. It also contributes to aid funds (for projects, for example) which in turn finance innovative projects, awareness-raising campaigns, R&D programmes, etc.

By encouraging everyone to adopt more virtuous practices, the TGAP makes it possible to improve air, water and soil quality, preserve resources for current and future generations, preserve essential biodiversity and reduce pollution-related risks to human health.

How do you declare and pay the TGAP?

You declare the general tax on polluting activities to your company’s tax office (corporate tax department or department for large companies) using French form 2020-TGAP-SD (cerfa no. 16045). The four components must be declared and paid at the same time for each calendar year, with deadlines varying slightly depending on your company’s VAT regime (between April and May for the declaration and in October for the payment).

The tax, the amount of which varies according to the activity, type and quantity of pollutants concerned, is paid in the form of a single annual instalment calculated according to the scale published each year in the Bulletin officiel des finances publiques (Bofip). Adjustments are made the following year. Payments on account and adjustments are made exclusively online, by remote payment, in the “professional” area of the impots.gouv.fr website. Note that if the TGAP calculated is less than €450, it is not due.

Some practical information

In the event of an inspection relating to one of the components, you may be asked to provide the documents needed to justify the information declared. It is therefore essential that you keep them.

In addition, companies paying the tax are obliged to keep a register of volumes and treatments for each of the components. These records are used to calculate your company’s forecast TGAP in order to declare it, to calculate the advance payment to be made and to justify the information declared in the event of an audit.

TGAP, an incentive for the environment and industry

The general tax on polluting activities has gradually established itself as an essential tool for environmental policies and the ecological transition.

Since its inception, the TGAP has imposed a tax on industries based on their emissions of pollutants, toxic waste or hazardous waste. By internalising the environmental costs of their activities, it places them at the heart of environmental responsibility, encouraging them to adopt more sustainable practices.

In this sense, the TGAP is an opportunity for industries to “modernise” their production practices and processes, with a view to the environment, the economy and health.


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