The “corporate tax” will hit retail chains.  PiS imposes yet another tribute to the industry

The new tax, which will be introduced early next year, will be applied to companies that suffer a loss in operating activities or those whose income does not exceed 1%. trade. The tribute will be 0.4 percent. Revenue (the first component) plus 10 percent is the so-called excess cost (the second component). The tax – contrary to what its name implies – will be paid not only by large companies, but also medium and even small ones. There are no exceptions related to company size, but they are provided for new entities, financial institutions, companies with a simple ownership structure, as well as for taxpayers whose revenue has decreased by at least 30%. every year.

– The tribute will apply to companies from many industries, but retail chains will be among the companies most affected by the planned changes, especially given the fact that according to the self-adjustment submitted by the government, energy, mining and aviation companies will be excluded from the tax – told the portal Łukasz Kozłowski, chief economist at the Federation of Polish Entrepreneurs. – In terms of taxes, he mainly leaves companies from the commercial sector, not only in the field of food and consumer goods, but also, for example, electronics and pharmaceuticals, as well as some companies from heavy industries (metals), automobiles and the tourism sector – he adds.

Marek Kocak, attorney and senior associate at Cancellaria Oj Tomczykowski, also believes that the new tax will primarily affect taxpayers from the commercial sector. Income is less than 1 percent. Revenue is a feature of this type of business. – The nature of the activity conducted results in low margins, and the profit made results from the volume of activity conducted, and not from the profit per unit of goods – refers to Kończak.

Why was the “corporate tax” aimed at the commercial industry, which is already subject to retail sales tax, while the Ministry of Finance provided for an exemption, for example, for the financial industry, also subject to a separate (banking) sector tax for several years? – There are no rational grounds for this distinction – says Marek Kochak, referring to the fact that excluding entities operating in the commercial sector “could eliminate most potential taxpayers from this tax and would be contrary to financial objectives.” – Moreover, a significant portion Of the banks falls into the hands of the state treasury, which may also be important for determining the circle of taxpayers. In addition, it is possible that the Ministry of Finance does not want to increase the burden on banks that are currently struggling with the problem of Swiss franc loans – adds a representative of the law firm Ożóg Tomczykowski.

The exclusion of the financial sector is probably due to the fact that the gross margin in this activity is very low, and at the same time the sector generates the highest turnover – says Łukasz Kozłowski of the FPP. – but to a similar extent, it is also justified to exclude from this tax other industries, including the commercial industry, which already pays its sectoral taxes. Kozovsky suggests that the best solution in such a situation is to remove the revenue component of the minimum tax and focus on more efficient and less side-effect ways to tighten CIT.

How much will the retail industry pay? Data from the 2019 tax settlements show that in the case of large players, it will be from several million to tens of millions of zlotys per year. The minimum tax in the case of Eurocash will be less than 65 million PLN, Auchan payment 46 million PLN, Tesco (from Poland) 42 million PLN, Stocrotka 16 million PLN, Intermarsh (SCA PR) 8.6 million PLN, Polomarkt 7.9 million Polish zlotys, and Aldi 6 million zlotys.

These calculations are based on the tax revenue base only (the first component). It must be remembered that using publicly available data it is not possible to determine the amount of so-called passive expenses of individual companies, such as licensing fees or consulting services, which will be subject to an additional tax of 10%. In some cases these amounts may be significantly higher.

– In the case of Auchan and Tesco, the calculation does not take into account tax bases other than the income base, i.e. in particular, deferred income tax, negative expenses, etc. This means that the actual tax payable by these taxpayers will be higher – points out Marek Kochak.

Some large chains – including the largest food industry chains – will not be subject to the new tax because their income exceeds the 1% limit. Revenues. Honors will not be paid in 2019 by Biedronka / Jeronimo Martins, Lidl, Carrefour or Żabka.

In 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union decided that the retail sales tax prescribed by law and justice complies with European Union law. However, earlier the tax was frozen for several years due to the protracted dispute between Poland and the European Commission. It is possible that in the case of a “corporate tax” we will face the same scenario – there will be attempts to undermine the legitimacy of the tax. According to Magorzata Samborska, partner and tax advisor at Grant Thornton, this is to be expected.

The parallels between a “corporate tax” and a retail sales tax can be problematic. Both honors are de facto income taxes. – I’m afraid there will be double taxation – confirms Sambourska.

Given how long it took to settle the issue of trade tax, it appears that the minimum income tax could raise even more serious doubts. According to the VAT directive, member states do not have unlimited freedom to introduce additional sales taxes, as this would interfere with the functioning of the Common Market, says Łukasz Kozłowski in a comment to Wiadomoś

He also states that the government, when introducing the tax on retail sales, argued that the purpose of this measure was to levy additional taxes on companies that avoid paying CIT in Poland. – Undoubtedly, the introduction of another income tax in the form of a minimum income and communication tax is incompatible with this justification – emphasizes Kozovsky.

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Also, according to Marek Kocak, the existence of attempts to discredit the “corporate tax” before the CJEU cannot be ruled out. However, in his opinion, “the amount of potential public opposition should be smaller than in the case of a tax on retail sales.”

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