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Poland: Proposed Measures to Combat Tax Avoidance

(Mar. 25, 2013) On March 13, 2013, Poland’s Minister of Finance announced a number of proposed changes to the country’s Tax Code that would comprehensively modify the Code. (Magdalena van Doorn-Olejnicka, Poland: Introduction of General Anti-Avoidance Rules Announced, IBFD TAX NEWS SERVICE (Mar. 13, 2013).) The key proposed amendments include:

  • introducing general rules to combat tax avoidance, with a particular focus on transactions and arrangements that are “artificial and abusive” in nature and whose only purpose is to obtain a tax advantage;
  • establishing a Council of the General Anti-Avoidance Rules Ombudsman, whose only role will be to issue non-binding opinions in appeal proceedings concerning allegedly abusive tax transactions. The Ombudsman will include representatives from the Supreme Administrative Court; the Supreme Court; the National Chamber of Tax Advisors; the Attorney-General; the Minister of Finance; and academia;
  • reducing bank secrecy resulting from granting the fiscal authorities broader access to taxpayers’ personal and account information available to banks;
  • allowing taxpayers to apply for tax rulings exclusively by electronic means, for a fee upon making the application (at present, the fee is paid only upon receipt of the tax ruling), but if the facts indicate that the taxpayer’s intention is to avoid taxation, issuance of a ruling may be denied; and
  • expanding the list of events that lead to suspension of the statute of limitations period (to include, e.g., consultations with the tax institutions of other countries about a taxpayer’s “hidden” income), but the adjudication of bankruptcy or the institution of enforcement proceedings will entail the start of a new statute of limitations period rather than the suspension of it, with the new period to commence, in practice, upon the completion of the enforcement proceedings. (Id.)