Our latest 2018 Tax Guideline for Poland is a comprehensive yet concise overview of Polish statutory framework and local entrepreneurial environment, prepared by Accace´s tax, accounting and legal experts.
We hope the new Tax Guideline will provide all necessary information for those who consider doing business in Poland, as well as for already existing businesses. Download our “2018 Tax Guideline for Poland” (PDF) or read more below:
Legal forms of business
General rules on purchasing real estate by foreigners
The real estate investor can acquire Polish real estate by way of an asset deal (e.g. direct acquisition of real estate) or a share deal (e.g. acquisition of a corporation owning real estate) only after obtaining a permit from Ministry of Internal Affairs. Both legal and natural persons from European Economic Area and Switzerland are exempt from obtaining such permit (generally).
EEA/Swiss foreign persons (natural or legal) may directly acquire real estate in Poland, except:
- areas close to state borders,
- farmland with the area exceeding 0.3 ha.
Asset deal is subject either to Transaction Tax or VAT (depending on the status of supplier).
Foreign investor that acquired a Polish corporation that owns any real estate require a permit. The permit is not required for investors from EEA/ Switzerland.
Share deal is subject to Transaction Tax.
Limitation in acquiring farmlands
On May 1st, 2016 entered into force the Act on Shaping Agricultural System, which substantially restricts the purchase of farmlands. For example, in case farmland is being sold the following subjects will have the preemptive right to buy it: the tenant of the sold property, its neighbour and the State Farmland Agency.
Legal forms of business
Social and health securities
Taxes on corporate income
Income and capital gains
Corporate income tax is levied at a rate of 19% (standard rate) or 15% (reduced rate for small taxpayers and new companies in the first year of business activity).
Withholding tax on domestic payments
Withholding tax of 19% is levied on income from participation certificates, certain debentures, vouchers and investment coupons; and interest from bank deposits and current accounts in general.
Corporate income tax – general information
Residence – A company is treated as resident if it has its legal seat or place of effective management in Poland.
Taxable income – Resident companies are taxable on their worldwide income, including capital gains. The taxable income is computed on the basis of the accounting profits and is adjusted for several items as described in the tax law.
Tax period – Calendar year or the financial year chosen by the taxpayer.
Tax returns and assessment – The taxpayer has to calculate the tax due in the corporate income tax return (self-assessment). The deadline for filing the return is by the end of the third month following the end of the tax year. The filing deadline cannot be extended.
Tax advancement – Monthly. Quarterly in the first year, or if gross sales did not exceed EUR 1,200,000 in the previous year. A new business entity established during the tax year is required to make advance tax payments.
Deductions – As a general rule, expenses incurred in connection to obtaining, ensuring and maintaining taxable income are fully deductible, unless they are listed as non-deductible items. Some items are deductible only up to a limit set by the law.
Carry forward of losses – Tax losses may be carried forward up to 5 tax years. During each year the company cannot utilize more than 50% of the loss.
Intercompany dividends – Dividends paid out of profits are taxed at 19% rate. However, exemptions from the EU Parent-Subsidiary Directive apply.
Revenues derived from activity in Special Economic Zones (SSE) are exempt up to certain level (depending on amount invested and workplaces created).
A company can deduct expenses on Research and Development (R & D), including development of prototypes and pilot projects, demonstration, testing and validation of new or improved products, processes or services whose main purpose is to improve the technical Encoding Products. In 2018 the R&D relief is from 100% up to 150% of qualified expenses depending on the status of the company.
Foreign income and capital gains – Resident companies are subject to tax on their worldwide income and capital gains. Taxable amount is generally calculated in the same way as in the case of domestic income.
Foreign losses – Losses of foreign permanent establishment (calculated based on Polish tax rules) may be offset against domestic profits unless, on the basis of an applicable double tax treaty, the exemption method applies for double tax relief.
Dividend income paid by non-resident company – Dividends paid out of profits are taxed at tax rate of 19% unless rule implementing EU Parent-Subsidiary Directive applies.
Double taxation relief – No unilateral double taxation relief is provided. Double taxation is relieved only on the basis of tax treaties.
Taxable income – Non-resident companies are taxed only on income derived from Polish sources. They are generally taxed according to the rules applicable to residents. Income attributable to a Polish permanent establishment is generally taxed at 19% rate through a tax return (self-assessment).
Withholding tax – Generally, 19% withholding tax or tax security is levied (unless limited under a tax treaty). For interest and royalty payments EU Interest and Royalties Directive was implemented.
Dividend paid by resident companies to non-resident – Dividends paid out of profits are (unless rules implementing EU Parent-Subsidiary Directive apply) subject to a 19% final withholding tax, unless a reduced rate applies under a tax treaty.
Applicable on interest expenses arising in the tax period starting from January 1st 2015. All resident legal entities and non-resident legal entities having a permanent establishment in Poland are covered. For previous periods different regulations apply.
The deduction of interest expenses (including of other related expenses) on loans from related parties exceeding paid equity (1:1 debt to equity ratio).
Controlled foreign company
Companies having seat in tax heaven, or in a country with no exchange of information, are treated as controlled foreign company.
The regulation refers also to companies established abroad deriving at least 50% of revenues of dividends, interests, copyrights, etc.
Part of CFC income attributable to Polish parent is taxable in Poland. Under certain conditions foreign company is excluded from CFC rules.
Tax avoidance clause
From 2016 every artificial action consisting in the performance of an act primarily in order to achieve a tax advantage is defined as tax avoidance.
In case of tax avoidance, tax consequences shall be determined based on such state of affairs that could have occurred had a relevant act been performed.
The capital threshold to qualify as a related party is 25%. Thus, transactions between entities holding less than 25% shares (directly or indirectly) will not be covered by documentation obligation.
The transfer pricing rules apply also to partnerships and consortiums between related parties.
Transfer pricing documentation requirements generally follow the recommendations contained in the OECD Guidelines on Transfer Pricing and the EU Code of Conduct on Transfer Pricing Documentation. In certain cases country-by-country reporting applies.
It is expected to prepare the transfer pricing documentation not later than on the date of submission of the tax return for given tax year.
More information about Transfer Pricing you can find in our other eBook: Transfer Pricing Overview for Poland
Taxes on individual income
Personal income tax – rates
The tax rates applicable for income derived in 2018 are:
- annual taxable income up to PLN 85,528 is taxed at 18%
- annual taxable income above PLN 85,528 is taxed at 32%
Certain types of income are not aggregated, but are subject to a flat rate tax of 19%.
Personal income tax – general information
Residence – Individuals who have their permanent residence or habitual abode in Poland are treated as residents. An individual has his habitual abode in Poland if he/ she is present in Poland for at least 183 days (in aggregation) in a calendar year (except individuals who stay there for the purposes of studying, receiving medical treatment, or who cross the borders of Poland on a daily basis or in the agreed upon intervals exclusively for the purposes of performance of his/her dependent activity, the source of which is located in the territory of Poland).
All other individuals are treated as non-residents.
Taxable income – Individuals who are residents for tax purposes in Poland are taxable on their worldwide income.
Taxable income of an individual is usually calculated by aggregating the separate net results of the following income categories:
- employment income;
- business activity;
- independent professional activities and income from the use of work and art performance;
- rental income;
- sale of real property;
- income from capital;
- other income (e.g. income from occasional activities).
Specific exemptions and deductions apply for the purposes of determining the net result of each income category.
Tax period – Calendar year.
Tax assessment – Taxpayers deriving income that is included in the aggregate income have to file an income tax return by April 30th in the year following the tax year (self-assessment).
Losses – Tax losses generated from business activities and other independent professional activities may only be set off against income derived from those types of activity. Losses that could not have been set off may be carried forward for the maximum period of 5 years. Up 50% of loss may be utilized in a given year.
PIT advance payments – Individuals who conduct business have to make tax advance payments till the 20th day of the following month.
In the case of employment income, the employer is obliged to remit the tax not later than on the 20th day of the month following the month the wages were paid out.
The statutory deductible cost of earning income amounts to PLN 111.25 per month.
In certain cases, for lower earners, a small personal allowance (tax free amount) can be claimed.
In Poland child care relief can be claimed. The standard deduction is PLN 1,112.04 per child (PLN 92.67 monthly). This relief is prorated in cases where the child was with the parent for only part of the year and covers:
- children under the age of 18
- children who have been granted care allowance under Polish regulations, irrespective of their age
- children under the age of 25 having the status of students
This relief may be applied under the condition that the child did not earn any income other than tax-exempt under Polish tax regulations, or a family disability pension, or other income in tha mount that does not trigger a tax liability.
Foreign source income – Resident individuals are subject to tax on their worldwide income. Taxable amount is generally calculated in the same way as in the case of domestic income.Resident individuals
Dividend income – Dividends paid out of profits are subject to a 19% withholding tax, unless a reduced rate applies under a tax treaty.
Double taxation relief – Income earned from employment performed abroad is subject in Poland to tax credit (if DTT does not state differently). If DTT envisages exemption in Poland, taxpayer calculates tax only on the part of income derived in Poland. However, the tax is calculated using rate as if an entire income was taxable.
Taxable income – Non-resident individuals are taxed only on their income derived from Polish sources. Employment income derived by non-residents from employment performed in Poland for a period not exceeding 183 days in 12 consecutive months is exempt. The exemption does not apply to activities performed by artistes or sportsmen, or through a permanent establishment. The income of non-residents is generally taxed according to the rules applicable to residents, unless a law or a tax treaty provides otherwise.
Personal allowances – Non-residents are entitled to personal allowance (see above). If certain conditions are met non-residents are entitled to the dependant-spouse allowance.
Withholding tax – Generally, 19% withholding tax or tax security is levied (unless limited under a tax treaty).
Dividend income – Dividends paid out of profits are subject to a 19% withholding tax, unless a reduced rate applies under a tax treaty.
Value added tax
VAT – rates
Standard rate: 23%, reduced rates: 8% and 5%.
Export of goods and services is zero rated.
Intra-Community supplies of goods are zero rated under certain conditions.
VAT – general information
Legislation – The VAT rules are based on the principles of the Council Directive 2006/112/EC on the Common System of Value Added Tax.
Taxable person – Legal entities and individuals that carry on an economic activity.
- supply of goods and services for consideration within the territory of Poland by taxable persons acting as such;
- intra-Community acquisition of goods for consideration within the territory of Poland from another EU Member State; and
- import of goods to Poland.
Taxable amount – Total consideration charged for the supply, excluding VAT but including any excise duties or other taxes and fees.
Tax period – Month or quarter (small taxpayers only).
Tax assessment – Periodical VAT returns (monthly or quarterly, by the 25th day of the following month/quarter).
The amount of VAT liability consists of the VAT due on supply of goods and services carried out by the entrepreneur less input VAT of the same period. In addition, taxable person carrying out intra-Community supplies or supplying services according to the basic rule for B2B services has to file an EC Sales List (that shows the VAT identification numbers of his business partners and the total value of all the supplies of goods and services performed by the entrepreneur) on a monthly basis depending.
The threshold for mandatory VAT registration for taxable person with registered office, place of business or fixed establishment in Poland is sales turnover of PLN 200,000 attained in the period of 12 previous consecutive months.
Voluntary VAT registration is possible. In case of intra-community acquisition of goods from another EU-Member state, the taxable person not registered for VAT has to register for VAT before the first transaction. A taxable person (not registered as a VAT payer) has to register and pay output VAT or to report the supply of service in EC Sales List if the place of delivery for that service is:
- following the Article 44 of the Directive 2006/112/EC,
- located in another EU-Member state as is the EU-Member state of supplier of that service.
VAT registration is mandatory for foreign taxable persons without registered office or fixed establishment in Poland before it carries out activity which is subject to VAT in Poland and where the reverse-charge mechanism does not apply.
A foreign taxable person that makes distance-sales (mail order business) in Poland to any person that is not registered for VAT in Poland has to register for VAT in Poland before the net value of the goods reaches PLN 160,000 in a calendar year.
VAT group registration – Not available in Poland.
Taxes on capital
Transaction Tax (PCC)
Certain civil law transactions are subject to this tax, among others:
- Sale of things or rights,
- Exchange of things or rights,
- An Articles of Association.
The tax refers to non-professional transactions, when a transaction falls under VAT the tax does not apply.
Typically, the tax is levied as percentage of the value of transaction, e.g. sale of real property or loan are taxed at 2%.
Real estate tax
This tax is levied on land, buildings, apartment and constructions related to business activity. In case of business related estates, the rates are higher. The maximum rate of the business land tax is PLN 0.91 per m2, whereas in a private case it’s PLN 0.48 per m2. In case of buildings, business related space is subject to the rate of PLN 23.10 per m2. Apartment space is taxed at PLN 0.77 per m2.
Municipalities may decrease these rates in accordance with local resolutions.
Other business-related taxes
Motor vehicle tax
Levied on motor vehicles and trailers in categories L, M, N, and O if registered in Poland and used for business purposes.
Excise duties are levied on mineral oil, beer, wine, spirits, electricity, coal, natural gas and tobacco products.
Goods imported from non-EU countries are subject to import customs clearance.