Polish Tax Laws — Fighting a Winning Battle Against Tax Evaders

Budgetary Revenue in Poland 2015

Fact box

Corporate tax — PLN 32.9 billion

Personal tax — PLN 83.1 billion

Value added tax — PLN 123.1 billion

Excise — PLN 62.8 billion

Gaming tax — PLN 1.3 billion

Unemployment rate 4.1%

Fiscal balance -3.5% of GDP

Duties — PLN 2.9 billion

In total — PLN 306.2 billion
source: Ministry of Finance

Witold Modzelewski

About Witold Modzelewski

Witold Modzelewski is President of the Institute of Tax Studies, Professor of Law and Administration at Warsaw University and a lecturer at the Warsaw School of Economics. He is a member of the National Development Council and an honorary Chairman of the National Chamber of Tax Advisers. Between 1992 and 1996 he was deputy Minister of Finance, and was responsible for the restructuring of the tax system as well as introducing VAT and excise taxes into the system. He has authored and co-authored over 1,000 articles and books about taxes.

Since the current Polish government came into power, last year, they have advocated the need to tighten up the existing tax system. They maintain that the current situation calls for a system that is more efficient and effective and they are looking to find ways to increase the budget’s income without hiking up the tax rates. They have inherited a tax system from the liberal government, which was in power for eight years (between 2007 and 2015), which is in deep crisis — the tax share of the GDP has fallen from 17 per cent to 14 per cent. 

The situation in Poland is not much different to many other countries in the European Union. In other countries too, the tax regulations, that were created, were largely influenced by lobbyists who are, by nature, interested in tax evasion. At that time, the governments in power were prone to such external pressures. Another detrimental factor was the influence of the international audit and consulting industry, which played a significant role in shaping the current tax regulations and tax practices: A fact which was recently discussed by the European Parliament, in a resolution dated the 6 July, 2016.

Where Poland is concerned, the government needs to cut all possible ties with the audit and consulting industry, if it wants to improve the existing tax system, because the industry’s position is very strong and relies on informal personal relations and dependencies to keep it well positioned. They have already been successful in a number of areas, for example, they scuttled the new law on value added tax, which was written by the Law and Justice (PiS) party, during the 2015 election campaign. There are also significant delays in drafting and introducing new regulations related to tax evasion. 

The solutions that are already in place are cover provisions against tax evasion and fuel trade licensing. The Ministry of Finance is also working on electronic invoices, which should be introduced in 2017. 

The Ministry of Justice has managed to be more successful in introducing necessary regulations but unfortunately, these haven’t solved all of the problems. However, the government stands a high chance of introducing new tax regulations before the end of this year, which will result in a significant increase in budgetary income for 2017. 

The plan sounds quite ambitious but it is feasible. It requires massive changes in the Ministry of Finance, whose measures are not always compliant with the government’s objectives. It is essential that the government and the ministry become entirely separated from all of the agents that are potentially interested in making the Polish tax system as inefficient and ineffective as possible — mainly those from international businesses that provide services related to, and resulting in, tax evasion. 

So far the overall situation looks optimistic — at the end of August 2016, the government confirmed that within the first six months of this year tax efficiency had increased by PLN 9 (€2.1) billion compared to the first half of 2015.


The views expressed in this opinion editorial are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Emerging Europe’s editorial policy.


Changing Perspectives and Showing That True Romania is a Vibrant Innovative Country

Fiscal Policy Predictability in CEE — It’s Time for Change

PiS Uses Media Control to Bring Poland to Heel

Jaroslaw kaczynski pis emerging europe

China: A Giant That Is Hard to Crack

Serbia’s New PM Is Cut From a Familiar Cloth

Serbian flag emerging europe

January Kicks Off an Exciting Year for Emerging Europe

The CEE Region Is Making Advances in Prioritising Waste-to-Energy Projects

Poland: Is it Ready, and is it Time to Adopt the Euro?

Belarus 2020: Turning the Vicious Circle Into an Upward Spiral

Business Moving Forward with Cautious Optimism — Can Investors Win the Confidence Game?

The Right to Water: Who Can Change Today’s Situation?

Central and Eastern European Consumers Are Joining the Global Trends for Change

Bulgaria Needs a Reform-Oriented Government to Take Full Advantage of its EU Membership

bulgaria emerging europe

Is the CEE Region About to Steal the Outsourcing Crown From India?

Amazing view on the Taj Mahal in sunset light with reflection in water. The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river. Agra Uttar Pradesh India.

Czech Own Currency Insures Against Euro Losses

Euro Czech republic emerging europe

EU Visa-Liberalisation Strengthens Georgia’s Pro-Western Path

georgia emerging europe eu

The EU’s Choice: Fundamental Reform Or Disintegration

Adam Smith’s Warning for Poland

The GREAT London Food Scene

Bakery in London

Azerbaijan: The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Nothing


Poland Challenges the European Identity

Poland emerging europe

Resignation in Ukraine: War, Revolution, Crisis — Some Things Never Change

Slovenia’s Presidential Election: Pahor Expected to Romp Home

Slovenia flag against blue sky waving in wind

Will a Two-speed European Union Side-line the Visegrad Four?

How Will Poland Approach the Brexit Negotiations?

Macedonia’s Controversial Coalition Government

SKOPJE MACEDONIA emerging europe

Big Fish, Small Fish, Where to Fish? On the Eve of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

A Bosnian Referendum Shows Russia’s Influence in the Balkans—As Well As Its Limits

Swimpassing Dniester Without Prejudice To Democracy

Parliament of the republic of moldova in chisinau, national flag, stefan cel mare street, spring time with blue sky

Romania Surviving the Waves of Recent Political Tsunamis in Europe

Not All Quiet on the Eastern Front

Where’s My Cheese? – The GREAT British Food Tour 2014

Cheese Shop

Will Poland Leave the European Union?


Albania’s Election Apathy

tirana albania

LGBT in CEE — A New Acceptance Is Being Born From Migration

Falling into Old Ways in 2017? Ukraine’s Struggle for Functioning Economic Institutions

Only a United Opposition Can Defeat Poland’s Ruling Law and Justice Party

Classical building of Polish parliament. Warsaw in Poland.

EU-CEE Is Still Growing at a Healthy Rate

Prague emerging europe

Can Armenia Keep a Foot in Both Camps?

European union armenia russia emerging europe

History as Destiny? Institutional Erosion in Ukraine and Poland

Ukraine’s Reputation for Cheap Labour May Not Ring True in the Long-term

The Morawiecki Plan Promises a Brighter Future for Poland

Hungary’s Nationalist Assault on Free Enquiry

victor orban ceu

A Positive and Modern View of Entrepreneurship

United or Divided? Europe in the Face of the Challenges of Tomorrow

Emphasising the Incongruence Between the V4 Countries

Macron emerging europe

How strong is V4?

Viktor Orban

A New Division Between Eastern And Western Europe?

Is the Level of Foreign Ownership a Problem in Emerging Europe?

Flags of European countries flying from their capital cities. Viewed from the South.

After 25 Years of Restructuring, the Romanian Power Sector Is at a Crossroad

Brexit: Let’s Learn the Lesson and Hope a Better Europe Will Arise

Will the New Five-day Visa-free Regime Encourage More Visitors to Belarus?

The Sharing Economy Could Bring New Business Models to CEE

Ex-Transition Economies’ FDI Recovery

dollar euro fdi

2018 Elections — Vital Decisions for Hungary’s Future

Victor Orban energing europe

The Capital Markets Union: a New Beginning in the European Financial Sector?

Outsourcing in Germany: Stop Talking at and Start Talking to

Breaking With Imitations of the Past

Partnership is the Key to CEE-Indian Business

Examining How a Strong Swiss Franc Could Single-Handedly Topple Poland’s Economy

Let’s Stop Wasting Time Redefining our Place in Europe

Finalising the DCFTA is Expected to Bring Multiple Benefits to Ukraine

Hungary and Israel: the Collision of Past and Present

Budapest synagoge

Poland Needs to Cling to the Eurozone

zloty euro emerging europe

Regional Relations in the Western Balkans: Moving Beyond Folklore

Bosnia and Herzegovina flag with Serbia flag, 3D rendering

Old Fashioned Skulduggery Overshadows the Elections in Moldova

Political Tensions Rise As Croatia Allegedly Breaks the Dublin III Refugee Regulation

croatia migrants

CEE-Benefits and Disadvantages of Joining the Eurozone

forint zloty euro

Poland’s Unicorn, Slovakia’s Flying Car and the Future of Europe

Measuring Growth of Societies with GDP Alone Shows an Incomplete Picture

Europe Needs To Be More Proactive In Embracing Armenia

The Competitive Edge in Central and Eastern Europe

SOFIA BULGARIA - MAY 5: View of the Ivan Vazov National Theatre in Sofia on May 5 2016. Sofia is the largest city and capital of Bulgaria.

Stuck in Neutral: Georgia’s Constitutional Reforms

Tbilisi Parliament Georgia

International Women’s Day — Let’s Take Action And Then Celebrate

We, the Post-Communist Generation, Have the Skills to Rid of the Past And Create Our Own Future

Are Labour Shortages Driving Economic Growth?

Europe at Odds over OPAL and Nord Stream 2

Are There Differences Between How Tax Regulations in Poland and IAS Treat Intangible Assets?

How Will Trump’s Visit Affect Polish Politics?

Donald trump

E-lifestyle and Cyber Security: Some Views From Estonia

Cyber Security Protection Firewall Interface Concept

Czech Republic Renaming Has Real Economic Costs

Poland’s Drift Away From Democracy

Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict Moves from Frozen to Kinetic


Is there any prospect of ‘Polexit’?

poland european union polexit

European Volatility Makes Economic Development Slower for Ukraine

CEE — Do We Need a Launch Pad For Our On-Site Tech Intelligence in the Silicon Valley

Defending EU Values in Poland and Hungary

Eu hungary poland

People Power Reminds the Government of the Rule of Law

Why Hungary’s New NGO Law Is Harmful for Business

Budapest, Hungary. Aerial view of the old city Budapest, Hungary with river and Parliament Building with cloudy blue sky

Global Expansion in the Digital Age

Poland’s Capital Saturation Lower Than the Czech Republic’s

deloitte fdi poland

The Global Outsourcing Industry — the Rise of the Phoenix

Good Match But Unlikely Marriage

Poland’s Confusing GDP Growth

After Its Significant Rise the Georgian Economy May Now Fall

Panorama of Tbilisi, Georgia in sunset rays. Vivid, saturated, splittoned image.

Belarusian Journalists Still Face Huge Problems

Prepare for a New Europe

The EU’s Benign Neglect Of Eastern Europe

Could the West At Least Help Ukraine To Insure FDI Against Political Risks?

The Netherlands’ Objection to the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement could be Costly to Europe

Moldova Falls Victim to Politicising

moldova emerging europe

When Neutrality Isn’t an Option

President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin

Under Promise, Over Deliver: Prospects for the EU’s Eastern Partnership in 2018

Eastern partnership

The Long Tail of Global Expansion

Impact of Brexit on EU-CEE Not Overstated

theresa may brexit

The Voice of European Business Must Be Heard Loud and Clear by Brexit Negotiators

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *