Dorota Białas

Steuerberaterin (Polen)
Associate Partner
Phone: +48 71 60 60 402

Special Economic Zones have existed in the Polish legislation for more than 20 years. The regulations concerning entities that do business in those zones have evolved over that time and some changes have been quite fundamental. One example of a major modification could be the cap on the state aid amount introduced by the amended Special Economic Zones Act of 30 May 2008 (Journal of Laws of 2008, no. 118, item 746). That change cast numerous interpretation-related doubts concerning the limit of eligible expenditures applicable to the zone investors who obtained the Special Economic Zone permit on the basis of Article 16(2) SEZ Act in its wording valid until 4 August 2008.

The Director of Tax Chamber in Katowice dealt with that issue in his advance tax ruling of 30 June 2015 (IBPBI/2/4510-381/15/MS). 

The doubts surrounded the question whether the enterprises which had obtained the SEZ permit before 4 August 2008 could enjoy the more favourable regulations which did not list the cap on eligible capital expenditures among the obligatory elements of the zone permit. In doubt was how the permits corresponded with the new regulations. The tax authority in its ruling mentioned above resolved whether the capital expenditures exceeding the minimum limit specified in a permit not containing the upper limit of the eligible capital expenditures should have been included in the calculation of the available state aid. 

The tax authority held that the state aid was extended on the basis of a permit for business in a SEZ, and the terms of aid should have been defined according to the legal status in force on the permit date. The justification of the ruling read that there were no grounds to conclude that the minimum terms which entitled investors to tax reliefs put any limit on the eligible expenditures. 

If an investor in a special economic zone acts on the basis of a permit which puts no cap on the amount of eligible expenditures incurs costs exceeding the minimum amount, he will be still entitled to the aid but only up to the regional aid limits for enterprises. In other words, eligible capital expenditures in excess of the minimum amount specified in the zone permit increase the tax relief, but taking into account the maximum aid intensity and the expenditures eligible for aid.

This approach finds its confirmation in, for instance, advance tax ruling of the Director of Tax Chamber in Katowice of 20 March 2015 (file no. (IBPBI/2/423-1538/14/SD), advance tax ruling of the Director of Tax Chamber in Katowice of 2 July 2014 (file no. IBPBI/2/423-391/14/JD) and advance tax ruling of the Director of Tax Chamber in Katowice of 24 May 2010 (file no. IBPBI/2/423-358/10/AK).

In this context, we encourage you to have the amount of aid you are eligible for thoroughly checked.

In case of further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our tax advisers in Rödl & Partner offices in Cracow, Gdansk, Gliwice, Poznan, Warsaw and Wroclaw will gladly review your documentation related to your investment in the Special Economic Zone in Poland and propose a solution to minimise your tax risks. We are also on hand to answer any other tax-related questions you may have. Our offices offer legal support in conducting business within a SEZ and in any other aspects of your operations.