New regulations on carrying on economic activity – Entrepreneurs’ Law
At the end of January 2018 Sejm, the lower chamber of the Polish Parliament, enacted a package of five statutory acts:
- the Act on the Central Register and Information on Economic Activity and the Information Unit for Entrepreneurs,
- the Act on the Attorney of Small and Medium Enterprises,
- the Act on the Terms on which Foreign Entrepreneurs and Other Foreign Persons May Participate in Economic Trade in the Territory of the Republic of Poland,
- the so called Entrepreneurs’ Law, and
- amendments to the Act on the National Court Register.
All the above Acts make the so called “Constitution for Business”. The basic objective of the amendments adopted therein is primarily to simplify legal regulations in order to facilitate the conduct of economic activity in Poland and to improve the principles of co-operation between entrepreneurs and the public administration.
The main pillar of the “Constitution for Business” is the Act on Entrepreneurs’ Law enacted on 26 January 2018 (hereinafter: the Law), which replaces the Act on Freedom of Economic Activity of 2 July 2004 applicable at the moment. Numerous amendments made to that Act have caused that it has become incoherent and various regulations were contradictory with each other. For that reason the legislator saw a need to implement new regulations. The Entrepreneurs’ Law is to regulate in a comprehensive and coherent way the principles for carrying on economic activity in the territory of Poland. Its basic objective is to establish stable and transparent norms that will constitute the freedom of economic activity and will create a transparent system for providing information about the rights and obligations of entrepreneurs.
One of the key assumptions of the Law is the so called “business startup relief”. An entrepreneur who takes up economic activity for the first time or resumes such activity after 5 years of the date of its closure will not be liable to pay mandatory social security over a period of 6 months. It is worth noting that non-payment of the contributions is equal to the lack of rights to benefits under social security, e.g. pension/sickness benefits, for a given period. The legislator emphasises that the relief is an alternative to the standard system and the choice for an entrepreneur to make use of it is facultative. For those individuals who choose the so called “business startup relief”, after 6 months the possibility to pay lower contributions for social security, the so called “small ZUS”, has been envisaged.
Another important change is the so called “non-registered activity”. An individual pursuing paid activity and obtaining revenue not exceeding 50% of the minimum monthly remuneration will not have to register in the Central Register and Information on Economic Activity, and his/her income will be taxed in accordance with general principles.
The legislator has also implemented regulations on total abolishment of the need to use statistical identification number (REGON) in contacts with the public administration. Entrepreneurs are to be identified in economic trade only by tax identification numbers (NIP) assigned to them.
The proposed amendments are to enhance the effectiveness of the current legislation and affect the way that legal regulations are applied and interpreted. What is more, the new regulations are to encourage to setting up economic activity, especially by supporting business activity of the entrepreneur in its initial phase.
The new Act will come into force as of 1 March 2018, excluding the regulations on the so called “business startup relief”, which will enter into force as of 31 March 2018.
Kinga Duszna, Tax Consultant, ATA Tax Sp. z o.o.