Another tax reform is being prepared. The Ministry of Finance has prepared an extensive amendment to the tax ordinance. – There are many changes in it that are beneficial for taxpayers, they should simplify their lives. The tax office, however, also took care of its interests and granted itself further rights – says Mikołaj Paja, tax advisor, manager at PwC.
A criminal case will not help the office
Let’s start with the news that is positive for taxpayers. It seems that the problem of initiating fiscal penal proceedings in order to suspend the limitation period for a tax liability will finally be resolved. The point is, if officials can’t keep up with the taxpayer check, they start a criminal case. And they don’t have to worry anymore that they won’t be up to date with their decision.
The provision giving such a possibility is to be repealed and, as the Ministry of Finance itself admits, it will solve the problem of instrumental initiation of fiscal penal proceedings.
The rules for collecting liabilities secured by a mortgage or a fiscal lien will also change. Currently, they do not expire. The Ministry proposes that the limitation period should be interrupted and run anew after the entry of a compulsory mortgage or a fiscal lien.
– This will ensure equal treatment of taxpayers – underlines the justification of the bill.
– After these changes, the tax office will have less time to control. Officials must therefore focus more on the earlier, ongoing verification of settlements, not waiting with the inspection until the last minute before the statute of limitations, says Mikołaj Paja.
– The changes to the statute of limitations benefit taxpayers. It cannot be concealed, however, that they were forced by the judiciary. There is also a fear that the tax office will look for other ways to extend the limitation period, for example as a result of the application of enforcement measures on the basis of security decisions, which may be issued more often than before, says Kamil Pier Ringek, attorney at law, senior manager at KPMG.
Taxpayers will also be pleased that the obligation to submit an additional application for overpayment resulting from the corrected tax return has been lifted. The Ministry of Finance admits that it is burdensome for both the interested parties and the tax office.
At the time of submitting a correction of the declaration in electronic form, it is not possible to send an application for overpayment at the same time. Officials have to request the taxpayer to file it, most often in paper form. There will be no such necessity.
The draft introduces a simplified procedure, appropriate for cases where the tax liability does not exceed PLN 5,000. PLN and, as we read in the justification, “there is no need to provide an in-depth interpretation of the law or to conduct complex evidence proceedings”. It is to be initiated at the taxpayer’s request and should last a maximum of 14 days.
There will be a new relief in the payment of liabilities – tax remission before its payment date. The amount of tax will also increase, from 1 thousand. PLN up to 5,000 PLN, which may be paid by another entity for the taxpayer.
A dangerous treasury weapon against taxpayers
There will be a carrot, and there will also be a stick.
– The tax office gets new powers. It will block not only business accounts, but also savings accounts owned by entrepreneurs. And for 96 hours (currently only 72 hours). After this time, the tax office may extend the lock for three months, also in accordance with the current regulations. The tax office will also be able to request the bank to stop suspicious transfers – explains Kamil Pier Ringek. He adds that blocking company accounts is a dangerous weapon in the hands of the tax office. It will also lead to the paralysis of the enterprise. – This institution cannot be abused by officials – emphasises Kamil Pier Ringek.
Mikołaj Paja draws attention to the provisions on overpaid VAT or excise duty.
– An entrepreneur who incorrectly applied the higher tax rate will not recover the overpayment if the tax office decides that he has not suffered any financial loss. It is mainly about selling to consumers. For many years, the tax office has been defending itself against paying overpaid tax, claiming that it was the consumers who bore its burden. Now it will have a legal basis. In the absence of additional procedural guarantees, we can be afraid of automatic refusal of the right to overpayment – says Mikołaj Paja.
Another law, which is unfavourable for taxpayers, is an increase in the order penalty. You can get it, for example, for failing to appear at the office’s call. Now the maximum penalty is 3,000. zloty. After the change, it will amount to PLN 10,535.
The provisions on the liability of members of the management board of a capital company, also being a general partner of a limited partnership or a limited joint-stock partnership, will be tightened. The tax office will also be easier to control tax capital groups and VAT groups (which are to operate from next year).
Most of the changes are to apply from June 1, 2023. Exceptions are, for example, the provisions on blocking accounts. They are to enter into force in 2024.