Polish government unveils bank tax bill with added shock for insurers

By bne IntelliNews December 3, 2015

The Polish government submitted on December 3 a bill on its plan to tax selected financial institutions from February 1, 2016, local media reported on December 3. The rate of the levy will be in line with expectations for banks, but there was a nasty sting in the tail for insurers.

The bank tax was a flagship campaign pledge from Law and Justice (PiS) in the run up to its victory in the October election. The party has moved quickly to put an introductory bill together, and was set to submit it to parliament on December 3, MP Wojciech Jasinski told PAP. PiS hopes that revenue from the tax will total as much as PLN6bn annually, and has earmarked the funds to help drive a raft of social spending pledges.

The bill will open the way for the government to tax assets exceeding PLN4bn at a rate of 0.39% for banks and financial institutions such credit unions. However, it also seeks to wages a 0.6% levy on assets of insurance companies, surprising the market. The news sent the share price of state-controlled insurer PZU to a three-year low, as it dropped over 6% on the Warsaw Stock Exchange in afternoon trade.

The tax will add to inflated costs for the banking sector. However, lenders' shares had mostly priced in the 0.39% tax, with additional issues such as a likely pricey hit on Swiss franc mortgages having seen stocks in the sector slump throughout the year.

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