Communication with tax authorities can be tricky in any country but when you are a foreign investor, the challenge may get even bigger. You don’t only have to meet a range of requirements, but also overcome a linguistic barrier. In result, there are many questions that might cross your mind, such as:
What to do when the tax office questions my manner of tax settlement?
Do I deal with the tax office personally or through an intermediate?
Should I meet with tax inspector to clarify any issues in person?
Do I have to commission a certified translation of my company documents?
I’ll try to clarify some of your doubts and offer 3 tips on how to communicate with Polish tax authorities.
Tip 1 – Collect documents
Don’t look at being contacted by tax office as anything special. After all, it’s their job to make sure that businesses meet their obligations. It is a normal and general practice to be subject to tax inspections once in a while. Still, it’s better to be prepared, just in case. Simple steps to make the inspection the least burdensome include:
Not only standard documents, such as invoices and tax decisions, but also any related internal documents concerning tax-related events. They may serve in future to present the facts forming the basis for tax interpretation.
Let’s assume a taxpayer identified some warehouse deficiencies. His tax situation will look different if he prepares an inventory report where he provides the reasons for the deficiencies.
Obtaining tax opinion
The purpose is to document tax interpretation in view of possible future inspection. The opinion serves three purposes:
– It clarifies any doubts before they become serious tax issues,
– It shows that the taxpayer acted with due care when interpreting tax regulations,
– It documents the so-called established practice (i.e. provides the same assurance as individual interpretation)
Obtaining opinions from other authorities
Many times it’s worth obtaining an opinion from authorities other than tax office. The document will support tax decisions based on non-tax related events. The opinions or information provided by these institutions are official documents. Therefore, they are matter of record and serve as proof for information they provide.
Practically for any area of economy, there is a government body responsible for subject matter, such as:
– Construction Supervision Inspector is competent in issues regarding constructions
– Energy Regulatory Authority – responsible for energy issues
– Financial Supervision Authority – responsible for finances, stock exchange, etc.
Tip 2 – Find professional help
Rather than plow through tax and accounting obligations on your own, it much better idea to hire an accountant or contract an accounting office. It may not be very easy to find an accounting office that handles foreigner investor-related issues. I found the following offices across Poland:
- Magfin: http://bit.ly/2VOYUfb (Warsaw)
- Almag: http://bit.ly/2TJg4br (Wólka Kosowska)
- HMS Holdings: http://bit.ly/3aCt4qc (Wrocław)
- Renka http://bit.ly/3ay1NVN (Kozienice)
- Lucrum http://bit.ly/2TLCNn1 (Cracow)
Not a bad idea to hire a tax advisor, the more so that accountants are not allowed to advise or provide explanations on tax issues. Only certified tax advisors, who have passed the national exam, can do that. I found the following offices across Poland that handle foreign-investor tax-related issues:
- Tax Adviser http://bit.ly/2TKwY9A (Poznań)
- Olesinski http://bit.ly/2QbB75B (several branches in Poland)
Tip 3 – Find a reliable translator
Representatives of the Polish tax authorities are not required to speak a foreign language when dealing with foreign investors. In addition, any tax interpretations can only be issued in Polish. This means that any contacts with will require from you a decent level of Polish, which is not always possible. This is why it is crucial to find a translator who is professional, reliable and trustworthy. Here are some reasons why it is worth time and effort to find a translator that suits you:
– To avoid time-pressure, work with a translator from the beginning of your operations in Poland, so that documents to and from tax office are being translated successively
– To avoid quality issues, work with the same translator, so that the vocabulary and translations remain consistent
– To avoid miscommunication issues, stay in close and constant contact with your translator, so the two of you can get to know yourselves professionally
Contact me if you think work together. I will help you prepare Polish or English version of your documents so that your communication with tax authorities is as problem-free as possible. Dealing with tax office can be stressful at times, so by working with you will have one burden less on your shoulders.