The new retail sale tax may not bring desired benefits for e-commerce as planned in Poland
Planned introduction of the retail sales tax in Poland
Ministry of Finance have announced the project of the Act on retail sale tax. Initially assumed that new obligation will cover with its scope only hypermarkets in order to improve the competitiveness of small and medium-sized companies. However, announced project differs significantly from previous assumptions. It turned out that tax will include also retail sellers (in conjunction with entities active in e-commerce sale). The project stipulates few exemptions (for example for pharmacies).
The projected tax means introduction of additional obligation for trade sector. The tax rate will depend on the income from sale in given month and day when the sale takes place (sale during weekends and national holidays will be covered with higher tax rate). Along with the project many concerns appeared related to future adoption of the regulations. Considerable doubts have also e-commerce sellers.
What can bring these tax changes?
The economists and e-commerce sellers representatives expect that introduction of the tax will result with price increase of sold goods and slowing down the development of e-commerce in Poland. In case of the Act on retail sale tax the main problems are rapid pace of the legislative works, lack of consultation with representatives of the industry, short vacation legis period (only 2 weeks) and the fact that the new tax obligation will be introduced in the middle of the tax year. Mentioned issues causes that sellers will have not much time to prepare for implementation of new regulations and for reevaluation of their business plans for 2016.
What is more, foreign retail sellers active in e-commerce will have problems with application of the regulation, which impose additional obligations on the carrier in cases when recipient of the transported good is Polish consumer. Taxation covers sales from abroad, but only if a consumer receives the goods in Poland. The carrier is obliged to receive the declaration stating that foreign entity paid the retail sale tax or is exempted from taxation. In case when carrier does not receive a declaration, the carrier is obliged to pay lump-sum tax in the amount of PLN 40. It is not clear how the foreign entity shall declare that the tax has been paid if the deadline for payment of the tax is 25th of the next month. What is more it is unknown, which tax rate should apply, if the dispatch took place during weekend or polish national holiday, whether the day in which the recipient received the goods will be decisive in order to determine the proper tax rate.
The project has been transferred to interministerial consultations. We can expect that final version of the Act will be modified. We will keep monitor further legislative works, in particular with their effects on e-commerce sector.