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Ministry of Finance announces combating aggressive tax planning

2013-01-23

Taxpayers can expect changes in the Tax Ordinance, which aim at preventing avoidance of taxation, in particular by way of creating foreign structures. The works in this scope were announced by the Vice-minister Maciej Grabowski in the interview on 10 January 2013 for Newseria.pl. Proposed changes of the Tax Ordinance are to protect Poland’s fiscal interests.

At present, the Government is undertaking numerous steps aiming at preventing avoidance of taxation, i.e. renegotiation of double taxation agreements, signing international agreements on exchange of tax information. Agreements on exchange of information are signed with countries treated as tax haven, with which Poland has not signed a double taxation agreement. In 2012, such agreements were signed with Grenada, San Marino, Andorra, and the Commonwealth of Dominica. As a rule, agreements on exchange of tax information provide for the possibility of holding an inspection abroad.

Also on the European Union’s forum steps are taken to prevent avoidance of taxation. For example, in 2012 the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) issued the Opinion (EU OJ of 31.07.2012, C229/7) indicating tax and financial havens as one of the reasons of the financial crisis and a threat to the stability of public finance and the internal market. EESC indicated the need to undertake steps preventing misuse of the principle of residence, i.e. establishment of ‘mailbox’ companies for the purpose of avoiding taxation. Measures applied to combat unfair competition in the area of taxes are to include, amongst others, freezing and confiscation of income from tax offences connected with misusing tax havens, as postulated by the European Commission.