Poland's new government looks to fast track bank tax

By bne IntelliNews November 17, 2015

Poland’s incoming Law and Justice (PiS) hopes to put a bill to implement a tax on the country's banks through parliament as quickly as possible, a party official said on November 17.

The bill is one of the revenue pillars on which PiS plans to rest its programme to increase social spending. PiS has said it wants to quickly introduce several measures - including taxes on banks and retailers - that will offer it the cash to meet its promises, which are set to be rolled out in early 2016.

“When it comes to the bank tax bill, we would like to [pass it] fast so that it enters into force as soon possible,” head of the parliamentary committee on public finances Wojciech Jasinski told PAP.

The official said work on the measure may even be completed before the incoming government has finished a planned review of the prior government's 2016 budget bill. “The budget is priority, but we may be able to [proceed with the bank tax bill] before,” Jasinski added. 

However, the final form of the bank tax is not yet clear. During the campaign, PiS talked about a 0.39% tax on assets. However, a tax on financial transactions, or a rise in the corporate tax on the sector have also been mentioned.

A levy tax on financial transactions looks unlikely, given criticism that it would potentially antagonise the weakness already plaguing the equities market. On top of that, it would only likely bring in PLN1.7bn for the budget in the first year, according to estimates. A tax on bank assets would boost the revenue rise to PLN5bn.

The headline social spending pledge, to expand child benefit, has an estimated price tag of PLN16bn per year. That saw Finance Minister Pawel Szalamacha suggest on November 16 that the new government could raise the budget deficit by PLN1-1.5bn in 2016.

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