Carriage monitoring in Poland – new requirements on foreign businesses
Foreign businesses transporting goods into or through Poland face heavy financial penalties if they fail to comply with the Monitoring Act. Lidia Adamek-Baczyńska, and Olga Palczewska of Doradztwo Podatkowe WTS&Saja explain the key points of the new law.
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 and Ukraine.
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 monitoring requirement?
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 principal business.
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