Indirect Tax News - February 2020

New schema will replace VAT returns

Poland implemented the Standard Audit File for Tax tool – SAF-T, for short. The SAF-T includes, among other structures, a VAT recording structure covering information on sales and purchases (SAF-VAT). Since 1 July 2016 SAF-T has applied to large taxpayers. It became compulsory for other taxpayers on 1 January 2018. Despite the introduction of the new tool, taxpayers remained obliged to submit separate VAT returns electronically. 

As of 1 April 2020 large businesses that are VAT payers will be obliged to submit a new standard audit tax file for VAT purposes as a single file consisting of two sections: the VAT return and VAT record. This requirement will apply to all other VAT payers as of 1 July 2020. This single file is meant to simplify compliance obligations and to reduce costs, while serving as an information tool for the tax authorities in their fight against VAT fraud.

Taxpayers that employ more than 250 people and have a turnover in excess of EUR 50 million, as well as those that employ more than 250 people and have total assets in excess of EUR 43 million will be considered large businesses. As of 1 July 2020 it will no longer be possible to file a VAT return in a form other than SAF-VAT.

Higher reporting obligations and stronger sanctions

The new SAF-VAT is a more extensive form of VAT reporting than the current one. According to the new schema specifications, in the new (mandatory) field "Commodity Code”, taxpayers will be required to provide the code for the good or service using symbols specified in the closed catalogue indicated in the XML schema description. These codes are not related to Combined Nomenclature (CN) codes or to the Polish statistical classification, so this could be problematic for taxpayers.

Under a new provision of the Penal Tax Code, a taxpayer who fails to timely file will be subject to a fine. Failure to submit a SAF-T is classified as a penal crime and is subject to a fine of up to PLN 24,960,960. (In 2020 a delay in submission will result in a fine that ranges from PLN 260 to PLN 52,000.)

Fines for errors

If the tax authorities find an error in a taxpayer’s SAF-T, they can impose a fine of PLN 500 for each error. The fine may be waived if, within the specified deadline, the taxpayer makes corrections.

Emilia Wolnowska