‘Supermarket tax’ introduction postponed in Poland

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The Polish Ministry of Finance will postpone introducing a retail sales tax, also known as the “supermarket tax”, until mid-2020 due to the unresolved conflict with the European Commission (EC) on the tax in the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

“We propose to extend the period of not collecting the tax until mid-2020,” the spokesman of the ministry, Paweł Jurek, told “Rzeczpospolita” daily.

He explained that the reason for this decision is the ongoing conflict with the EC concerning the supermarket tax in the ECJ. Jurek emphasized that the final decision will still come down to the Polish government.

The previous minister of finance, Marian Banaś, had aimed to introduce the tax on Poland’s largest supermarkets as early as September 2019 despite the ongoing conflict with the EC. The reason for the previous earlier timeframe had to do with the Polish government’s victory in the Court of the European Union in May 2019.

ECJ ruling

The Court released a verdict which read that “the Polish tax on trade does not impede the European Community’s regulations concerning public aid and can be collected.” The EC appealed to the verdict and the ECJ will respond in 2020 at the earliest.

Renata Juszkiewicz, the head of the Polish Trade and Distribution Organization, declared that the decision to postpone the tax was a good one and that in the case of taxation, it is important to wait for a final decree from the ECJ.

Other experts, such as Andrzej Maria Faliński, the head of the Polish Economic Forum Association, believed that the government should abandon the tax project entirely, claiming that it would be harmful not only to trade in the entire country but also would be perceived poorly abroad.

Retail tax details

The supermarket tax, officially known as the retail sales tax, would concern shops that earn an income of €390,000 per month. It would feature a 0.8 percent tax rate for income earned above €390,000 and a 1.4 percent rate concerning stores with income exceeding 3.95 million.

According to the Ministry of Finance calculations, the tax would bring in over €371 million per year from about 200 stores.

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