Taxes for companies. Experts say there is too much chaos

Taxes for companies.  Experts say there is too much chaos

What’s next for KSeF? Experts clearly point to problems in running a business in Poland. They blame legal chaos and unclear, frequently changing regulations.

In 2023, unfavorable tax solutions for companies appeared. As experts emphasize, this year the market expects, first of all, a change in the method of calculating the health care rate. There are also voices criticizing the idea of ​​​​introducing from July this year. National e-Invoice System (KSeF). Recently, however, the Minister of Finance announced that this obligation would be postponed. Experts also draw attention to repressive elements of the state, the necessary reform of the limitation system for tax liabilities and issues related to withholding tax. Moreover, they indicate the lack of stability of regulations and the still high level of aggression of the tax authorities in the event of audits.

Problematic health insurance premium

It is said in the public space that 2023 will bring further unfavorable tax solutions for companies. There are suggestions for modifying the regulations. As Dr. Anna Wojciechowska, partner at SOLVEO ADVISORY and Business Center Club (BCC) expert, points out, the necessary and probably most expected change by the market is the method of calculating the health insurance contribution rate. In the opinion of the former Head of the Tax Control Department of the Tax Control Office in Gdańsk, it is difficult to find a logical justification for calculating such a contribution as a percentage in relation to the income generated.

– The bases for assessing PIT and health insurance contributions should be unified in such a way that the levy is actually calculated on the same amount that constitutes the basis for calculating the amount of income tax to be paid. A system in which the bases and forms of settling PIT and health insurance contributions are similar, but not identical, is a source of many unnecessary complications. Moreover, the rules for reducing the tax base by the paid health insurance contribution should be simplified and unified. Currently, depending on the chosen form of taxation, the rights to deduct it from the tax base vary – comments Łukasz Kozłowski, chief economist of the Federation of Polish Entrepreneurs.

The Association of Entrepreneurs and Employers has prepared a package of solutions that may prove to be a lifeline for companies, but also a flywheel for their development. As Jacek Podgórski, director of the Labor Forum at ZPP, points out, the demands include, among others: elimination of time limits for the possibility of using the Mały ZUS program, reduction of the pension contribution paid by micro-entrepreneurs for themselves and for their employees by half (to the level of 3.25%) and abolition of the obligation to pay contributions to the Labor Fund and the Solidarity Fund for micro-entrepreneurs. Moreover, the Association proposes to reduce the health insurance contribution for self-employed people and micro-entrepreneurs in the case of the tax scale from 9% to 6%. In addition, there is an increase in the limit for reducing the tax base in a registered lump sum to 75% and an increase in the amount that can be deducted from the tax base.

– Without a doubt, business owners also expect the so-called holidays for entrepreneurs, promised during the last election campaign. According to the assumptions, entrepreneurs will be able to refrain from paying compulsory social security contributions once a year. This is important because ZUS contributions from January 1 this year. they increased significantly again – adds Dr. Wojciechowska.

Long list of problems

As stated by prof. Witold Modzelewski, former deputy minister of finance, said that the catastrophic mistake made in 2023 was the decision to introduce a universal obligation to issue the so-called structured invoices from July 2024. This date is as absurd and harmful as the previously established one – April 1 this year. The expert emphasizes that such complicated and time-consuming operations should not be introduced in the middle of the year, when some employees are on vacation. This may result in complete disorganization of settlements conducted by business entities. However, in the second half of January this year. the Minister of Finance announced that the entry into force of the KSeF will be postponed.

– This year, first of all, we should abandon the model of a repressive state in order to encourage entrepreneurs to invest in Poland and not scare them with the unpredictability of officials’ actions. Pre-trial detention in commercial cases, where the evidence is based mainly on documents, must be significantly limited. The deprivation of liberty of a suspect does not generally affect the quality and scope of books and tax documentation. If documents can be extracted by sending a summons, it is a disproportionate punitive response to lock someone in prison, warns Dr. Jacek Matarewicz, an expert from BCC.

The lack of evidence cannot justify the use of mining arrests against entrepreneurs, as Dr. Matarewicz emphasizes. The expert believes that the system should also be audited, e.g. by the Supreme Audit Office, and as a result – the use of fiscal penal proceedings by tax authorities should be limited as the main way to extend the limitation period for tax liabilities.

In the opinion of Przemysław Pruszyński, director of the tax department of the Lewiatan Confederation, changes in various areas are crucial. First of all, it is necessary to increase the security of running a business by organizing the legislative process, improving the quality, stability and readability of the law and extending the vacatio legis of tax laws. There is a need for a reform of the limitation system for tax liabilities, preventing the tax administration from indefinitely suspending or interrupting the tax liability period. According to the expert, the regulations on withholding tax (WHT) should also be corrected and the regulations on reporting tax schemes should be liberalized. In addition, efforts should be made to repeal the minimum CIT tax, which came into force from 2024, and to restore the possibility of depreciation of residential real estate.

– From my perspective, the biggest challenge last year was withholding tax issues. It is true that they did not result from the new regulations introduced in 2023 in this respect, but from the practice of their application by tax authorities. The process of determining withholding tax obligations is cost-intensive and high-risk. This is due to the lack of clear and transparent rules to take into account the specificity of the functioning of capital groups and the functions of individual entities. It is necessary for the Minister of Finance to prepare explanations and rules for settling withholding tax as soon as possible. They should be practical and consistent with applicable national regulations and directives, and prepared after consultations with tax advisors – emphasizes Dariusz Gałązka, head of the tax advisory team at Grant Thornton.

In turn, Jerzy Martini, a tax advisor from the MartiniTAX Law Firm, states that from the taxpayers’ perspective, the lack of stability is a much bigger problem than the regulations themselves. In addition, there is still a high level of aggression on the part of the tax authorities in the event of audits. According to the expert, the current service provided to taxpayers is generally at a high level. However, the situation is different with tax audits and proceedings. Unfortunately, they are often carried out in a biased way and only serve to maximize budget revenues.

– 2024 should be a period of reflection and analysis of all regulations that were introduced in previous years. Unfortunately, many chaotic and unnecessary changes have been implemented that make it difficult to make business decisions and run a business – regardless of its size. Any new products should be adopted with respect for the rights and interests of entrepreneurs. Greater emphasis should also be placed on the debate on the needs and expectations of business, summarizes Przemysław Pruszyński.

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