Caution when dealing with goods subject to excise taxes

Poland: The government is fighting rampant tax evasion in the trade in certain goods. This will not impact businesses as long as they observe their new duties.

How can a state improve its budget? Cost cuts are not always manageable, and tax increases are usually less than popular.

The Polish government is working on a third-way solution: an increase in revenue from existing taxes. It is planning to improve collection of taxes and to limit tax evasion.

After a few general initiatives (such as the tax evasion clause and the standard audit file for tax), loopholes in the tax systems of several problematic market sectors are about to be sealed, with the newest topics being haulage of liquid fuels, methylated spirits and dried tobacco.

According to a statement from the Government’s Information Centre, abnormalities in the settlement of VAT and excise tax are very common in these areas of trade. This significantly decreases state revenues and leads to unfair competition.

As a means of prevention, the legislator is introducing legislation on a haulage monitoring system for these goods.

The legislation focuses on establishing a central electronic register for declaring haulage of sensitive goods. The duty to report will apply to all players at all stages of transportation – the sending party, the haulier and the receiving party.

The declaration will include such data as the type and size of cargo, haulage date and even the vehicle’s licence number. The haulier and the driver must have a haulage reference number, received earlier by the sending party from the register. Without this number the haulier (and the driver) is legally obliged to refuse to carry out the service.

All reported data are subject to audits, for instance by police or excise-tax officers.

Non-compliance with the new law results in fines. In the event of failing to report the cargo, the sending or receiving parties are to be fined no less than 20 thousand PLN, up to 46% of the value of goods. Irregularities within the quantity or type of cargo will also be subject to fines. A haulier who fails to report cargo will be fined 20 thousand PLN.

Fines for drivers carrying goods without a reference number will amount to 5,000 to 7,500 PLN. The vehicle and cargo themselves can also be withheld.

The purpose of these severe punishments is to deter market players from evading payment of excise tax and to fight the grey economy in those areas.


Source: Law on the haulage monitoring system of 10 February 2017 (passed by the Sejm, currently passed on to the Senate)

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