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Changes in Polish sales tax legislation – the “White List” and split payment

September 1, 2019 saw the release of the White List of sales taxpayers – an electronic index with detailed information about all businesses subject to sales tax in Poland. Furthermore, from November 1, 2019, split payment will become mandatory for certain sectors. The changes will also affect foreign companies registered in Poland for sales tax purposes.

Important changes in Polish sales tax rules
Important changes in Polish sales tax rules

September 1, 2019 saw publication of the White List of sales taxpayers by the Polish fiscal authority – an electronic data bank with detailed information about all businesses subject to sales tax in Poland. The list also includes companies headquartered abroad but subject to sales tax in Poland. The White List is intended to simplify the search for business partners and due diligence thereof. The aim of the changes is to ensure the appropriate care is taken and the risk of taxpayers’ unintentional involvement in sales tax carousel fraud is minimized.

Entries in the White List also include the company’s own account number with which payments must be made.

The account numbers stated in the list are those provided when the company was founded or registered for payment of sales tax. From January 1, 2020, taxpayers who make payments as part of business transactions, the one-off value of which – regardless of the number of business-related payments – exceeds the sum of PLN 15,000 (approx. CHF 3,750) or an equivalent value, must make payments to the bank account of the business partner stated in the White List.

Sales taxpayers in Poland do not have to do anything for their company data to be included in the list. All the necessary information has been gleaned from the existing public registers by the fiscal authority.

If the account numbers used by the company have changed then this information should be updated with the fiscal authority (in the case of a corporation listed in the regional court register) or with the records of sole proprietorships (in the case of a sole proprietorship enterprise).

If any account numbers other than those stated in the index are used for the payments, the relevant expenditures will not appear as operating costs. The business does have the right to record its expenditures as operating costs, however, provided that it submits a corresponding notification to the relevant fiscal authority within three days of issuing the transfer order.

A business that transfers the invoice amount to an account other than the one stated in the White List will be jointly and severally liable for the tax arrears of the business partner in the sales tax part that is incurred proportionately on the relevant delivery of goods or provision of services.

Payments using the split payment mechanism provide protection from any negative consequences.

The introduction of a White List imposes additional obligations, both for suppliers and for customers. Most specifically, businesses must ensure the accuracy of the information entered in the index and check the data it contains (particularly the account number). This way, they can avoid sanctions and do not run the risk of losing the trust of their business partners.

From November 1, split payment will become mandatory for certain sectors.

The split payment mechanism involves making two payments to two separate accounts and not, as previously, making one payment to a joint account.

The first account can be any account stated by the business owner, to which the net sum is transferred. The new element is the second account, the so-called sales tax bank account. It is to this account that the sales tax is transferred. The two accounts are linked to each other.

In accordance with the latest rules, the split payment procedure will be mandatory from November 1, 2019 for B2B business transactions with a value not exceeding PLN 15,000 (approx. CHF 3,750) in the following sectors:

  • Products made of steel;
  • Salvaged, residual and secondary materials;
  • Electronic devices and certain accessories (processors, mobile phones, computers, tablets, printer cartridges, toners and HDD and SSD hard disks); parts and accessories for vehicles and motorbikes;
  • Fuels for powering combustion engines, fuel oils and lubricating oils;
  • Construction services.

Foreign companies that handle sales subject to sales tax via bank transfer for the abovementioned sectors are obliged to open a bank account in Poland.

Any business not meeting the obligations outlined in the legislation could face strict sanctions.

This article was written by the law firm Rödl & Partner. The law firm has offices in all major Polish cities and is part of the expert network for the Swiss Business Hub Poland.

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