The Polish VAT Act is based on EU legislation, and in particular, on the provisions of Directive 2006/112/EC on the common system of value added tax in Europe.
Main VAT rates applicable in Poland in 2013 are as follows:
- standard rate – 23%
- reduced rate – 8%
- super-reduced rate – 5%
Reduced rate is applied to supplies of certain food items, medical products, hospitality services and community housing.
Super-reduced rate is applied to supplies of certain food items, such as bread, dairy products, meats, and selected publications.
VAT in international trade – supply of goods from Poland to the European Union
Taxpayers selling goods to buyers in EU states may apply the 0% VAT rate as part of the intra-Community acquisitions of goods.
VAT in international trade – supply of goods from Poland outside of the European Union
The 0% VAT rate also applies to exports from Poland outside of the European Union. In order for the 0% rate to be applied, the taxpayer must have appropriate customs forms stating that the goods have exited the territory of the European Union.
VAT in international trade – supply of goods from an EU Member state to Poland
Purchasing goods in an EU Member State and transferring it to Poland, the Polish taxpayer must ensure self-assessment of VAT. This means that the taxpayer should disclose both the output VAT resulting from the taxable activity and the input VAT (due to the fact that this activity constitutes a “purchase” for the purpose of its business). Consequently, as a rule, intra-Community acquisitions of goods is a VAT-neutral activity for the Polish taxpayer (the amount of output VAT equals the amount of input VAT).
VAT in international trade – supply of goods from outside the EU to Poland
Imports of goods subject to VAT in Poland are deemed to mean imports of goods from outside the European Union into Poland. In such cases, the import output VAT is typically paid to the customs office that clears the imported goods. Furthermore, a taxpayer that has paid VAT to the customs office may deduct this tax on the basis of the customs document received. In selected cases, it is possible to avoid paying VAT to the customs office and settle the import of goods in a VAT return (postponed accounting system) on the terms applicable to intra-Community acquisitions of goods. However, the implementation of this solution applies solely to entities using the simplified customs procedure. The VAT exemption applies, among other things, to imports of goods subject to inward processing, goods subject to temporary clearance with full customs duty exemption, advertising materials, and product samples.
VAT in international trade – provision of services
In case of cross-border services, a VAT obligation in Poland may arise if the place of taxation of a transaction is Poland.
In this respect, the Polish VAT Act complies with the VAT Directive – for services provided between taxpayers (on a B2B basis) with their registered offices in different countries, the primary place of taxation is the country of the registered office of the entity purchasing the service.
Office in this meaning can be a place of residence or permanent place of business.
In case of services provided by a taxpayer to a non-taxpayer entity (B2C) VAT is due from the service provider.
As a result, under the fundamental principle, VAT will be payable in Poland on service transactions between taxpayers from different countries only if the service recipient has its registered office in Poland. However, in the case of services provided by a Polish taxpayer to a non-taxpayer entity, VAT will be payable in Poland if the service provider has its registered office in Poland.
There are several exceptions to the above rules – for instance, the place of taxation of real property-related services is, in each case, the place (country) in which the real property is located, while the place of taxation of hospitality services is the place (country) of their actual provision.