Poland’s government-in-waiting set to fast track taxes on banks and retailers

By bne IntelliNews November 2, 2015

Poland’s government-in-waiting hopes to have several of its promised flagship policies in place early in 2016, an official from Law and Justice (PiS) said on November 2, including taxes on banks and large retailers. However, other pledges may face delay, the party admits.

PiS, which won a majority in the parliamentary election on October 25, will reportedly push for establishing the taxes on the retail sector by the first quarter of 2016. A tax on banks is now being worked out. Both sectors are dominated by foreign investors.

PiS is likely to propose a 2% tax on sales of stores larger than 250 square meters in the first quarter of 2016, PiS MP Henryk Kowalczyk told PAP. "We want the bill to take effect as soon as possible. I don't know if we will make it for January 1 2016, but it should take effect in Q1 next year,” he said.

PiS hopes the new tax will bring in an extra PLN3.5bn to state coffers each year. In turn, that cash is earmarked to help pay for other campaign promises such as instituting child benefit of PLN500 (€117) per child. Kowalczyk said the new scheme should take effect between February and April.

Regarding the bank tax, although the timing is less clear, PiS is already working on a package despite having to yet start serious work on building a cabinet. The head of the party’s programme team, Piotr Glinski, told PAP the party is mulling a tax on financial transactions or assets, as well a third option to raise the corporate tax rate for banks.

The official said that he favours taxing assets, suggesting a tax on financial transactions could be a risk to an already weak equity market. While he pointed out that PiS wants to co-operate with the banking sector and has no intention to choke lenders, he also noted: "On the other hand, we are aware that banks' profits stand at PLN 16 bln," he said.

Once the relevant bills on the new taxes and the child benefit are in the parliament, PiS' calculations on revenue and costs will become clearer. Calculations are required in the draft texts of parliamentary bills. Before the election, there were estimates the child benefit plan could cost the state PLN13-22bn.

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