As many as 68 percent of SMEs assess the comprehensibility of tax regulations as low or very low. 86 percent are of the opinion that lawmakers do not listen to entrepreneurs. Around 80 percent think that during a control, officials can always find an irregularity. Such are the conclusions of the “VAT in Poland – obstacles for SMEs” report, prepared by Employers of Poland on the basis of a survey by TNS Poland.
– Our research clearly show that entrepreneurs consider tax regulations to be excessively complicated and not employer-friendly – writes President of Employers of Poland Andrzej Malinowski in the introduction to the report. – We draw attention to the deficiencies of the legislative process, a negative attitude of the tax authorities towards entrepreneurs and high costs of tax settlement – he stresses.
One of the consequences of the lack of transparency of the regulations is the fact that entrepreneurs frequently have to appeal for individual interpretations. Worse still, receiving such an interpretation does not guarantee safety, as changes in tax regulations are too frequent. Another worry is the long wait for such an interpretation to be issued – 34 percent of respondents indicated that they wait one or two months on average, 28 percent wait three to six months. In many cases such uncertainty destabilizes the company.
Another weakness of our tax system highlighted by the report is the low popularity of social consultations. In the last two years only 7 percent of companies have used this measure. As many as 67 percent of companies who participated in consultations either have not had the chance to present their opinion or have not seen any changes to the initial suggestion as a result of their contribution.
The amount of time companies spend on resolving tax issues is also a cause for concern – on average, an employee of a medium-sized company devotes 1.5 hour per week to this. At a small company this figure rises to 4 hours and 20 hours at a micro-enterprise. This amounts to one-eighth of monthly working time – despite the fact that a vast majority of the smallest companies utilize the services of accounting offices.
Further two aspects underlined in the survey have to do with the trust principle. It turns out that entrepreneurs are distrustful of the Ministry of Finance and tax authorities. The lack of trust among entrepreneurs themselves is also an issue. Many state that companies do not share experiences and solutions and do not cooperate in their efforts to influence tax law.
– All evidence suggests that law should be changed as soon as possible. Legislators should undertake efforts towards a systemic improvement not only of the regulations themselves, but the institutional environment as well. Otherwise, the Polish tax system will still be poorly rated and will hinder the competitiveness of our companies – President Malinowski summarizes.
The “VAT in Poland – obstacles for SMEs” report was prepared by Employers of Poland on the basis of a survey by TNS Poland. Expert consultation: Robert Oliwa, tax adviser, chairman of the Tax Committee of Employers of Poland; Mariusz Korzeb, tax adviser, tax expert of Employers of Poland; Adam Jagodziński, foreign affairs expert of Employers of Poland.
The report was prepared within the framework of the “Polish-Swiss partnership for better solutions in social dialog and VAT taxation” project. The project is co-financed by Switzerland as part of the Swiss program of cooperation with new EU member states. The value of co-financing is CHF 211 206,13.
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