April 2017 saw the entry into force of a new Polish law on a
monitoring system for the carriage of goods by road (the
Monitoring Act). The Monitoring Act applies primarily to excise
goods for which there are plenty of excise and VAT compliance
issues that reduce the government’s revenues. The
new law imposes new duties on businesses carrying certain types
of goods, called "sensitive goods", such as tobacco, alcohol
and certain chemicals.
The monitoring requirements under the Monitoring Act apply
not only to Polish but also to foreign carriers of sensitive
goods in transit through Poland. These entities are required to
file any such carriage with a special electronic register,
called "SENT", which is kept by the Head of the National
Revenue Authority. Any SENT filing, whether registration,
update or amendment, may only be made via an account set up on
the PUESC platform, which is the Polish official platform for
electronic customs and revenue services.
International transit – new duties
The new law may affect a broad range of foreign businesses
as Poland is the transit route for many vehicles carrying goods
between destinations in western or southern Europe and eastern
European countries: Estonia, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia
In the case of carriage through Poland of sensitive goods
from one member state to another member state or a third
country, the carrier must make a registration filing with SENT
before the start of the Polish leg of the journey (having first
registered itself with PUESC). The registration filing should
provide various details, including the particulars (names,
addresses) of the carrier, sender and recipient, the date and
place where the journey starts and ends in Poland, the
particulars of the goods (CN code, quantity, weight or volume)
and the consignment note number. It is not until such filing is
made and the carrier receives a reference number (filing
identifier) that the carrier is allowed to transport the
sensitive goods concerned through Poland without the risk of
severe financial penalties.
Sensitive goods – what is subject to the
The Monitoring Act lays down a list of goods that must be
monitored when carried. The list includes mainly three groups
of excise goods: fuels with the CN codes and Polish PKWiU
classification codes mentioned in the Monitoring Act, ethyl
alcohol and dried tobacco. While in the case of the first two
groups, the monitoring requirement applies only to consignments
with a gross weight or volume of more than 500 kilograms or 500
litres, respectively, there is no quantity threshold for dried
tobacco so that the requirement applies to this produce
regardless of its quantity in the consignment. However, the
Monitoring Act provides for exceptions (few of them, for that
matter) whereby the monitoring requirement does not apply, e.g.
depending on the size of the container.
Carrier – broad definition
The statutory definition of carrier is very broad. It is not
limited merely to those entities that are licensed to engage in
the business of carriage by road, but extends to all
individuals, legal entities and unincorporated organisations
that are in business and engaged in the carriage of goods.
Accordingly, the Monitoring Act applies also to all
international carriers and to foreign business entities
carrying sensitive goods incidentally in relation to their
Penalties for failure to file
A failure to file or a filing that is not compliant as
regards to the registration of type, quantity, weight or volume
of the goods attracts a penalty of PLN 20,000 ($5,500).
Under the Monitoring Act, the penalty will not be imposed
where the variation is not greater than 10% and where so
justified by important interests of the carrier. In addition,
financial penalty applies also to the driver if he does not
have a reference number for the carried goods.
This article was prepared for International Tax Review
by Lidia Adamek-Baczyńska, tax adviser and
partner, and Olga Palczewska, consultant, at
Doradztwo Podatkowe WTS&Saja, the exclusive member
firm of WTS Global in Poland.
Tax adviser and partner