US Superfund taxes take effect on chemicals

Al Greenwood


HOUSTON (ICIS)–On Friday, the US will revive Superfund taxes on 42 building-block chemicals as well as imports of several substances made from those chemicals.

The two Superfund taxes were allowed to end in the mid-1990s. The US is reviving them as part of the $1trn Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that President Joe Biden signed into law in November.

The proceeds raised by the taxes will help replenish the government’s Superfund programme, which pays for the clean-up of waste sites.

The US is reviving two different Superfund taxes.

The first one is levied on the sale or use of 42 chemicals. These taxes are imposed on companies that make or import the 42 chemicals.

The following table shows 42 chemicals and their tax rate.

Taxable Chemical Alias $/Short Ton Cent/lb
Acetylene 9.74 0.487
Ammonia 5.28 0.264
Antimony Trioxide 7.40 0.370
Arsenic Trioxide 6.82 0.341
Barium sulphide 4.60 0.230
Benzene 9.74 0.487
Bromine 8.90 0.445
Butadiene BD 9.74 0.487
Butane 9.74 0.487
Butylene 9.74 0.487
Chlorine 5.40 0.270
Chromite 3.04 0.152
Cupric oxide 7.18 0.359
Cupric sulphate 3.74 0.187
Cuprous oxide 7.94 0.397
Ethylene 9.74 0.487
Hydrochloric acid HCl 0.58 0.029
Hydrogen fluoride hydrofluoric acid (HF) 8.46 0.423
Lead oxide 8.28 0.414
Methane 6.88 0.344
Naphthalene 9.74 0.487
Nitric acid 0.48 0.024
Phosphorus 8.90 0.445
Potassium dichromate 3.38 0.169
Potassium hydroxide Caustic potash 0.44 0.022
Propylene 9.74 0.487
Sodium dichromate 3.74 0.187
Sodium hydroxide Caustic soda 0.56 0.028
Stannic chloride 4.24 0.212
Stannous chloride 5.70 0.285
Sulphuric acid 0.52 0.026
Toluene 9.74 0.487
Xylene 9.74 0.487
Zinc chloride 4.44 0.222
Zinc sulphate 3.80 0.190
Antimony 8.90 0.445
Arsenic 8.90 0.445
Cadmium 8.90 0.445
Chromium 8.90 0.445
Cobalt 8.90 0.445
Mercury 8.90 0.445
Nickel 8.90 0.445

The chemical tax does include some exceptions.

Exporters can apply for a refund, according to Deloitte, a consultancy.

Companies that use the chemicals to make fuel, fertilizer or animal feed are exempt.

Based on those exemptions, hydrofluoric acid or propylene used in the alkylation units of refineries could be exempt, because those chemicals would be used to make gasoline. Butane could avoid the tax if it is blended in gasoline.

Ammonia used to make nitrogen fertilizers could also avoid the tax.

Methane could escape the taxes if it is burned as a fuel in power plants or used to make hydrogen for feedstock in refineries.

However, if the methane is used to make methanol for downstream chemical production, it could be taxed.

The tax also exempts coal derivatives and sulphuric acid that is a by-product of air-pollution control.

The second tax covers substances sold or used by importers.

The government has published three lists of substances that could fall under the tax. The most recent list was published earlier in June, and it includes 121 substances and their tax rates.

The following table shows the full list of the 121 substances that the International Revenue Service (IRS) says could fall under the Superfund tax. The list includes the tax rates for each of the substances.

Substance Alias $/Short Ton Cent/lb
1,3-butylene glycol BG 7.28 0.33
1,4 butanediol BDO 4.68 0.21
1,5,9-cyclododecatriene 9.74 0.44
2-ethyl hexanol 2-EH 7.16 0.32
2-ethylhexyl acrylate 7.34 0.33
acetone 20.06 0.91
acetylene black 10.52 0.48
acrylic acid resins 5.65 0.26
methacrylic acid resins 14.94 0.68
acrylonitrile ACN 9.38 0.43
adipic acid 6.13 0.28
adiponitrile ADP 8.57 0.39
allyl chloride 10.38 0.47
alpha-methylstyrene 9.93 0.45
ammonium nitrate AN 1.49 0.07
aniline 9.4 0.43
benzaldehyde 8.47 0.38
benzoic acid 7.31 0.33
bisphenol-A BPA 10.23 0.46
butanol butyl alcohol 6.31 0.29
butyl acrylate butyl-A 6.84 0.31
butyl benzyl phthalate 12.15 0.55
carbon tetrachloride 10.62 0.48
chlorinated polyethylene 10.25 0.46
chloroform 10.51 0.48
chromic acid 4.37 0.20
cumene 9.74 0.44
cyclododecanol 9.05 0.41
cyclohexane CX 10.02 0.45
decabromodiphenyl oxide 17.99 0.82
di-2 ethyl hexyl phthalate 7.37 0.33
diethanolamine DEA 6.01 0.27
diglycidyl ether of bisphenol-A 13.86 0.63
diisopropanolamine 12.76 0.58
dimethyl terephthalate DMT 5.91 0.27
dimethyl-2, 6-naphthalene dicarboxylate 6.81 0.31
di-n-hexyl adipate 8.23 0.37
diphenyl oxide 13.73 0.62
diphenylamine 10.28 0.47
epichlorohydrin EPC 12.89 0.58
ethyl acrylate ethyl-A 4.09 0.19
ethyl alcohol for nonbeverage use ethanol 5.94 0.27
ethyl chloride 4.52 0.21
ethyl methyl ketone methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) 7.6 0.34
ethyl benzene ethylbenzene (EB) 9.74 0.44
ethylene dibromide 9.03 0.41
ethylene dichloride EDC 6.62 0.30
ethylene glycol monoethylene glycol (MEG) 4.38 0.20
ethylene oxide EO 6.23 0.28
ferrochrome ov 3 pct. carbon 4.83 0.22
ferrochromium nov 3 pct 4.83 0.22
hexabromocyclododecane 9.11 0.41
hexamethylenediamine 8.93 0.41
isobutyl acetate 4.47 0.20
Isophthalic acid 6.23 0.28
isopropyl acetate 4.54 0.21
Isopropyl alcohol isopropanol (IPA) 6.82 0.31
linear alpha olefins LAO or normal alpha olefins (NAO) 9.74 0.44
maleic anhydride MA 5.75 0.26
melamine 4.28 0.19
methyl acrylate methyl-A 5.39 0.24
methyl chloroform 6.37 0.29
methyl isobutyl ketone MIBK 23.65 1.07
methyl methacrylate MMA 14.75 0.67
methylene chloride 10.33 0.47
monochlorobenzene 10.12 0.46
monoethanolamine MEA 5.96 0.27
monoisopropanolamine 11.74 0.53
nickel oxide 7.03 0.32
normal butyl acetate butac 4.47 0.20
normal propyl acetate 3.73 0.17
nylon 6/6 nylon 6,6 8.67 0.39
ortho-dichlorobenzene 10.35 0.47
ortho-nitrochlorobenzene 7.49 0.34
para-dichlorobenzene 10.35 0.47
para-nitrochlorobenzene 7.49 0.34
para-nitrophenol 8.59 0.39
pentaerythritol 3.86 0.18
perchloroethylene PCE 10.89 0.49
phenol 12.47 0.57
phenolic resins 9.86 0.45
phosphorous pentasulfide 2.49 0.11
phosphorous trichloride 6.21 0.28
phthalic anhydride PA 7.01 0.32
poly 1,4 butyleneterephthalate polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) 7.21 0.33
poly(propylene)glycol 10.38 0.47
poly(propylene/ethylene)glycol 8.84 0.40
poly(propyleneoxy)sucrose 2.04 0.09
poly(propyleneoxy/ethyleneoxy)sucrose 2.57 0.12
polyalphaolefins PAO 11.37 0.52
polybutadiene polybutadiene rubber (PBR) 9.74 0.44
polybutene 9.74 0.44
polybutylene PB 9.74 0.44
polybutylene/ethylene 9.74 0.44
polycarbonate PC 10.84 0.49
polyethylene resins, total PE 9.74 0.44
polyethylene terephthalate pellets PET 6.82 0.31
polypropylene PP 9.74 0.44
polypropylene resins PP 9.74 0.44
polystyrene homopolymer resins PS 9.93 0.45
polyvinylchloride resins PVC 7.46 0.34
propanol 5.47 0.25
propylene glycol PG 10.38 0.47
propylene oxide PO 13.6 0.62
styrene 9.93 0.45
styrene-butadiene, latex 9.84 0.45
synthetic linear fatty alcohol ethoxylates 7.12 0.32
synthetic linear fatty alcohols 9.29 0.42
terephthalic acid purified terephthalic acid (PTA) 6.23 0.28
tetrabromobisphenol-A 14.79 0.67
tetrachlorophthalic anhydride 8.95 0.41
tetrahydrofuran THF 5.78 0.26
toluene diisocyanate TDI 10.85 0.49
toluenediamine 9.18 0.42
trichloroethylene TCE 10.79 0.49
triethanolamine TEA 6.04 0.27
triisopropanolamine 12.84 0.58
trimethylolpropane 4.63 0.21
urea 3.01 0.14
vinyl acetate vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) 3.83 0.17
vinyl chloride vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) 7.46 0.34

Prior to the June list, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had published two earlier lists that contained a total of 151 taxable substances that, if imported, could be subject to the Superfund tax.

Unlike the more recent list that was published in June. these two earlier lists do not include tax rates.

Some of the substances in the two earlier lists are included in the more recent June list. Others substances in the earlier lists are not in the June list. In addition, some substances in the June list are not included in the earlier lists.

The following table shows the 151 taxable substances that were in the two lists.

Chemical Alias
1,4 butanediol BDO
1,3-butylene glycol BG
1,5,9- cyclododecatriene
2-ethyl hexanol 2-EH
2-ethylhexyl acrylate
2,2,4-trimethyl- 1,3-pentanediol diisobutyrate
2,2,4-trimethyl- 1,3-pentanediol monoisobutyrate
acetic acid
acetylene black
adipic acid
adiponitrile ADN
allyl chloride
alpha- methylstyrene
benzoic acid
bisphenol-A BPA
butanol normal butanol or NBA
butyl acrylate butyl-a
butyl benzyl phthalate
chlorinated polyethylene
decabromodiphenyl oxide
di-2 ethyl hexyl phthalate
di-n-hexyl adipate
diethanolamine DEA
diglycidyl ether of bisphenol-A
diisopropano- lamine
dimethyl terephthalate DMT
dimethyl-2, 6-naphthalene dicarboxylate
diphenyl oxide
epichlorohydrin EPC
ethyl acetate etac
ethyl acrylate ethyl-A
ethyl chloride
ethylene dibromide
ethylenebistetra- bromo- phthalimide
formic acid
hexabromocyclod odecane
hexamethylenedia mine
isobutyl acetate
isopropyl acetate
linear alpha olefins LAOs or normal alpha olefins (NAOs)
methyl acrylate methyl-A
methyl chloroform
methyl isobutyl ketone MIBK
methyl methacrylate MMA
monochloro- benzene
monoethanolamine MEA
monoisopro- panolamine
normal butyl acetate butac
normal propyl acetate
nylon 6/6 nylon 6,6
ortho- dichlorobenzene
ortho-nitrochloro- benzene
para- dichlorobenzene
para-nitrochloro- benzene
perchloroethylene PCE
phosphorous pentasulfide
phosphorous trichloride
poly 1,4 butylenetere-phthalate polybutylene terephthalate (PBT)
poly (69/31 ethylene/ cyclohexylene- dimethylene terephthalate)
poly (96.5/3.5 ethylene/ cyclohexylene-dimethylene terephthalate)
poly (98.5/1.5 ethylene/ cyclohexylene-dimethylene terephthalate)
poly(ethyleneoxy) glycerol
poly(propylene) glycol
poly(propylene/ ethylene) glycol
poly(propyleneoxy) glycerol
poly(propyleneoxy)s ucrose
poly(propyleneoxy/ ethyleneoxy) benzenediamine
poly(propyleneoxy/ ethyleneoxy)diamine
poly(propyleneoxy/ ethyleneoxy)glycerol
poly(propyleneoxy/ ethyleneoxy)sucrose
polyalphaolefins PAOs
polybutylene PB
polybutylene/ ethylene
polycarbonate PC
polyethylene terephthalate pellets PET
propanol n-propanol
sodium nitriolotriacetate monohydrate
synthetic linear fatty alcohols
synthetic linear fatty alcohol ethoxylates
terephthalic acid purified terephthalic acid (PTA)
tetrabromo- bisphenol-A
tetrachloro-phthalic anhydride
tetrahydrofuran THF
texanol benzyl phthalate
toluene diisocyanate TDI
trichloroethylene TCE
triethanolamine TEA
vinyl acetate vinyl acetate monomer (VAM)
acrylic and methacrylic acid resins
acrylonitrile ACN
ammonium nitrate AN
carbon tetrachloride
chromic acid
cyclohexane CX
ethyl alcohol for nonbeverage use ethanol
ethylbenzene EB
ethylene dichloride EDC
ethylene glycol EG
ethylene oxide EO
ethyl methyl ketone methyl ethyl ketone (MEK)
ferrochrome ov 3 pct. carbon
ferrochromium nov 3 pct
hydrogen peroxide
isophtalic acid
isopropyl alcohol isopropanol (IPA)
maleic anhydride MA
methylene chloride
nickel oxide
nickel powders
nickel waste and scrap
phenolic resins
phthalic anhydride PA
polybutadiene polybutadiene rubber (PBR)
polypropylene resins PP
polystyrene homopolymer resins PS
polyethylene resins, total PE
polypropylene PP
polystyrene resins and copolymers PS
polyvinylchloride resins PVC
propylene glycol PG
propylene oxide PO
styrene-butadiene, latex
styrene-butadiene, snpf
synthetic rubber, not containing fillers
unwrought nickel
vinyl chloride VCM
vinyl resins
vinyl resins, nspf
wrought nickel rods and wire

The government could add or remove substances from this list. Companies can also request that the IRS add or remove substances from the list.

Substances could be added to the taxable list if they contain at least 20% of the 42 taxable chemicals. The tax rate would depend on the percent of the taxable chemicals contained by the substance, either by weight or by value, according to the IRS.

For example, a short ton of a substance that contains 20% propylene would be added to the list.

If an imported substance contains more than 20% of two or more of the 42 taxable chemicals, then it could fall under the tax. For example, an import that contains 10% benzene and 10% ethylene could be added because it contains 20% of the taxable chemicals.

If companies do not comply with the substance tax, then they will pay a default rate of 10% of the value of the substance, the IRS said.

The IRS published a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that can be found here.


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