Karolina Sieraczek

Attorney at law (Poland)
Senior Associate
Phone: +48 71 60 60 415

We would like to inform you the amended Tax Act will become effective on 1 July 2016. According to the new rules, taxpayers will be obligated to implement a Standard Audit File for Tax (SAF-T).

With the new control method, taxpayers will be required to file all or part of tax ledgers and accounting evidence at the request of the tax authorities electronically in a standardised format using means of electronic communications or computer data carriers.

The new control regime will apply not only to VAT accounts but also other taxes and the checking of books of account and tax returns in a broad sense.

Further changes to the Tax Act and the Value Added Tax Act are in the last stage of the legislative procedure. On 7 June 2016, the President signed the act of 13 May 2016 amending the Tax Act and certain other acts. The Act might be published it in the official Journal of Laws at any moment. 

The new legislation obligates the VAT-registered taxpayers (except those exempt from VAT) to keep computerised records of all data required to fill out tax returns and recapitulative statements. Taxpayers will be further obliged to transmit details of VAT records as a SAF-T without any additional request from the tax authorities. The data will have to be filed monthly by the 25th day of the next month.

SAF-T for large enterprises starting from 1 July 2016

The obligation to file documents in the SAF-T format as soon as 1 July 2016, both in the case of an inspection and with respect to the VAT records, will be imposed on enterprises classified as large.
A large enterprise is an enterprise that at least in one of the last two financial years:

  1. has employed more than 250 staff members (on an annual average);
  2. or has met the following two conditions jointly:
  • has achieved a PLN equivalent of EUR 50 million in net annual revenue from the sale of goods, services and financial transactions (determined on the basis of invoices, receipts and accounting notes);
  • the total assets in the balance sheet as of the end of one of those financial years exceeded a PLN equivalent of EUR 43 million.

If the manpower in a given financial year was lower than 250 and only one of the above thresholds – annual turnover or the total assets – was exceeded, the enterprise is not classified as a large enterprise. As a consequence, it will not have to transmit data in the SAF-T format as soon as from 1 July 2016.


VAT-registered taxpayers and foreign enterprises too

The obligation to transmit data in the SAF-T format will also apply to companies whose fixed establishment is outside Poland but which are registered for VAT here. In determining whether a foreign enterprise is a large enterprise, all of its business activities have to be considered, those in Poland as well as those abroad. The Ministry of Finance adopted such an approach in their explanations published on the official website.


Also foreign enterprises that carry on business in Poland through a local branch will be required to disclose data in the SAF-T format at the request of the tax authorities.


Vacatio legis for micro and small- and medium-sized enterprises

Between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2018, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises as defined by the Polish Freedom of Economic Activity Act will be able to choose whether they want to transmit their data during a tax inspection in the SAF-T format or not. Not until July 2018 will they be obliged by law to transmit data in the SAF-T format.


Small and medium-sized enterprises will have to start filing VAT data in the SAF-T format as soon as 1 January 2017. The obligation will reach micro enterprises since the beginning of 2018.


Implementation of IT solutions

Enterprises who meet the above-mentioned criteria (large enterprises) will have time to implement appropriate IT solutions until 1 July 2016. This is the date that the application of the new control regime will become obligatory for them.

The Ministry of Finance assures enterprises that they will be able to use the commonly used software to transmit data in the new format. The data will have to be transmitted in the xml standard.

It seems that the implementation of appropriate IT solutions will require from enterprises more effort than the Ministry anticipates. Many enterprises might be compelled to upgrade their existing or implement new software.


Enterprises which, for no good reason, refuse or fail to present tax ledgers or accounting evidence underlying those ledgers in the SAF-T format within a specified time frame will be liable to a fine of PLN 2,800.


Anyone who attempts to thwart or impede the tax authorities’ procedures, including especially failure to present tax ledgers, or accounting evidence underlying those ledgers, in the SAF-T format will be liable to a fine from PLN 617 up to PLN 17,769,600.


In case of questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our tax advisers in Gdansk, Gliwice, Cracow, Poznan, Warsaw and Wroclaw are at your service in this respect. We are also at your service to answer any other questions you may have with respect to tax advisory services in Poland. Please have a look also at the presentation.