International Tax Review is part of the Delinian Group, Delinian Limited, 4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 00954730
Copyright © Delinian Limited and its affiliated companies 2023

Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

Changes to the VAT rates matrix in Poland

Sponsored by


Magdalena Jaworska of MDDP sets out how the Polish VAT rates matrix has evolved to assist taxpayers.

As of July 1 2020, updated rules on the VAT rate matrix entered into force in Poland.The main intention of the updated rules is to move away from the application of the local statistical rules (i.e. Polish Classification of Goods and Services, dated 2008) in favour of:

  • The Combined Nomenclature (CN) or the Polish Classification of Construction Industry (PKOB) for goods; and

  • The existing Polish Classification of Goods and Services 2015 in regard to services.

Welcoming changes to the model

On the outset, the old Polish VAT rates matrix was inconvenient to taxpayers. The revision aims to change the old-fashioned system to make it more transparent, simple and user-friendly for Polish taxpayers.

The main disadvantage of the old system was that there were many discrepancies in VAT 

rates for similar products, a concept which has been largely avoided in the unified EU VAT system. In addition, taxpayers had no tax toll which would protect them from using reduced VAT rates. 

These aims were successfully achieved through the establishment of the updated Polish concept of VAT rates, which is based on three fundamental assumptions:

  • The adoption, as far as possible, of a single rate of taxation for entire CN chapters;

  • The adoption of the principle of reducing rates when it is necessary to change the rate for the goods concerned; and

  • The need to counterbalance the introduction of a simple matrix with rate increases for selected but few goods and services.

From this point of view, the new VAT rate matrix should be regarded as a step towards a better practice.

Binding rate information

Most cases of goods taxpayers are entitled to base on CN codes while determining VAT rates. Consequently, in this respect, special attention should be paid to determine the CN codes correctly at the moment of sale. The information provided by a supplier might be a crucial one, although it may not fully protect the taxpayer through a tax audit. 

To be on the safe side, it is worth implementing a binding rate information (WIS) issued by the Polish tax authority, to attain proper statistical classification and applicable VAT rates. 

The WIS is a type of a tax decision which contains a description of the good or service (or several goods or services in case of a complex supply in the meaning of VAT rules), as well as its statistical classification and the correct VAT rate. WIS shall be binding, not only for the applicant, though the protection will also be available to other taxpayers who sell the same item in a chain transaction. WIS is officially published and all taxpayers in Poland can use it to protect the applicable reduced VAT rate. 

Generally, WIS is issued within a three month period. The application for issuing WIS should concern only one good or one service and costs PLN 40 ($10). Hence, there is no option to apply in the same motion for more than one specific item, even when there are very similar products.

The fundamental advantage of WIS is that it is binding for tax auditors. Thus, contrary to binding individual tax rulings issued before the new VAT matrix was implemented, the Polish taxpayers gain a good tool to protect their position in respect to reduced VAT rates. 

Magdalena Jaworska 

T: +48 22 322 68 88

more across site & bottom lb ros

More from across our site

The airline’s CEO describes the impending tax as bad for the economy, India’s GST revenues drop to a two-year low, the CJEU rules on VAT repayment, and more.
But tax professionals will need to invest a lot of energy and money when controversy arises, according to a head of tax and trade compliance speaking at an ITR conference in London.
The carbon border tax regime will come into play in 2026 but its reporting requirements are now in force.
Disputes around pillar two filings are set to be significant and longwinded, according to a tax director speaking at an ITR conference in London.
PwC publishes detailed accounts of its behaviour in the tax scandal in Australia, while another tax trial looms for pop star Shakira.
The winners of the ITR Europe, Middle East, and Africa Tax Awards 2023 have been announced!
The winners of the ITR Asia-Pacific Tax Awards 2023 have been announced!
Mauro Faggion appeared cautiously optimistic as the European Commission waits to see whether all 27 member states will accept its proposal.
The global minimum rate also won’t entirely stop a race to the bottom, according to a tax director speaking at an ITR conference in London.
The country’s tax authorities are not interested in seeing transfer pricing studies any more, it was claimed at an ITR industry conference in London.