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Severe penalties for failure to file financial statements

2015-03-24

The amendment of the National Court Register Act implemented, as of 1 January 2015, more severe penalties for failure to file or failure to file in a timely manner financial statements and other obligatory documents with the National Court Register (the amended Article 24.1 and Article 25a of the National Court Register Act).

Although the legal regime prevailing previously also rendered it possible for courts to impose a fine for failure to comply with the filing obligation, the power had turned out to be so ineffective that it was decided to give courts the possibility to impose such fine multiple times and to commence the proceedings aimed at dissolution of the company without the necessity to carry out its liquidation.

And so, in the case of annual financial statements, companies must file them with the National Court Register within 15 days of their approval. At the same time, it has to be remembered that, according to the Accounting Act, financial statements should be approved within 6 months of the balance sheet date.

If financial statements are not filed in a timely manner, the registry court first will be required to summon the company to file the documents within 7 days, and next it will impose a fine in the amount of even up to PLN 10,000. A new thing is that courts have the power to impose the fine multiple times.

Moreover, if the company does not file financial statements for 2 consecutive financial years, despite having been summoned by court twice, the proceedings for dissolution without carrying out liquidation will be commenced ex officio against such company.

In addition, company dissolution without carrying out liquidation will be faced by entities that have failed to file financial statements or make necessary entries to date, if they do not file the missing documents within 6 months of the date of the amended law becoming effective, i.e. by 30 June 2015. 

At the same time, also fines for failure to file financial statements in a timely manner with the tax office were made more severe as of 1 January 2015.

According to the Corporate Income Tax Act, annual financial statements must be filed with the tax office within 10 days of their approval.

If the financial year of a company is the same as the calendar year, which is the most often practice, financial statements of such company should be approved by 30 June of the following financial year. Consequently, such financial statements should be filed with the tax office by 10 July of the following year at the latest. Failure to comply with the filing obligation in a timely manner will be penalised with high fines which may amount to even twenty times the value of the minimum annual remuneration (i.e. in 2015 even up to PLN 35,000). The amount of the fine will be determined on a case by case basis depending, among others, on income or financial situation.

The above issue is regulated differently for entities which do not have to be registered in the National Court Register (natural persons conducting business activity, civil partnerships, etc.). If such entities keep accounting books, they are required to file financial statements with the tax office together with their annual tax return, meaning by the end of April of the following year.