Any foreign business wishing to supply goods to Poland needs to pay close attention to the country’s complex excise duty regulations.
There is a strict definition of ‘excise goods’ in Polish law which can be quite different to other countries, as are the country’s processes for importing goods.
For example, excise tax on imported cars must be paid prior to the registration of the vehicle in Poland.
Particular care should be taken on taxes relating to a car that has been assigned the EU customs classification of CN 8703. Here, it is vital to determine the purpose of the car, which can only be used for transporting passengers.
Unfortunately, the definition of ‘car’ is somewhat inconsistent, which can cause problems when determining if a vehicle is taxable in Poland or not.
It’s important to be clear which of two main procedures should be applied to any excise goods coming into Poland.
Firstly, there is the excise duty suspension procedure, applied during the production, storage handing and movement of excise goods. In this case, there’s no tax liability and the payment of excise duty is deferred but may apply where excise goods are located in a tax warehouse or are moved between tax warehouses (see definition below).
Secondly, where goods fall outside the excise duty suspension procedure, they can only be moved on once the excise duty is paid or if they are subject to zero excise duty due to their intended use.
Any entity delivering goods outside the excise duty suspension procedure must possess the correct documents and, in many cases, register goods with the EMCS PL2 electronic system for monitoring the production and movement of excise goods. They may also have to meet a number of administrative and financial obligations; for example, securing the excise duty payment through a deposit of money, a mortgage, promissory note or bank guarantee, and meeting minimum levels of turnover. Without a detailed knowledge of Polish excise duty law, it can be quite difficult to meet these conditions.
The whole system is designed to keep track of products sent or received and only relevant entities in Poland are obliged to follow it. Non-resident companies with an establishment or place of business in Poland are exempt, but where the receiver of goods isn’t registered in the EMCS, the sender of the products is obliged to report them.
There are two further issues to consider when following the duty suspension procedure. An e-AD or replacement document (a virtual document which serves as a warrant to the movement of excise goods) must be used, and a request for excise security has to be made at the relevant customs office.
It should also be noted that a tax warehouse (referred to in Article 47 of The Excise Duty Act) is defined as the place where goods are produced, stored, reloaded or are imported or exported under the excise duty suspension procedure, and this location must be directly specified in the permit issued by the tax office.
Tax representatives and representing entities
In excise duty terms, a tax representative is a natural or legal person appointed by a foreign entity that Polish consumers can purchase excise goods from. They must pay any excise duty due and can only supply consumers, as totally different regulations apply when supplying excise goods directly to Polish businesses.
In the case of an intra-community acquisition an excise taxpayer can be considered a ‘representative entity’ provided they are based in Poland. In effect they can represent foreign entrepreneurs concerning the sale of electricity, excise goods and ‘dry’ unmanufactured tobacco.
According to the regulations, where there is no designated representative entity, the body acquiring electricity from a foreign entity will be considered as an ‘acquirer’.
It should be emphasised that, while the appointment of representatives in Poland isn’t obligatory, any foreign entity should seriously consider doing so to make it easier for them to process excise duties.
Without proper representation or an appropriate contractor, the seller could be subject to all Polish taxes and required to register for VAT and excise purposes.
Binding Excise Information
Binding Excise Information (BEI) is available to help companies meet excise legislation and is issued for the purposes of excise tax on goods or cars, organisation of the trade, production and transport of excise goods or the marking of tax stamps.
BEI is obtained by submitting an application to specific tax authorities and can help determine the CN code classification of excise goods or cars or define the ‘type’ of excise goods involved. It can also be used by any entrepreneur who wants to gather excise duty information.
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Date: September 2020