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Taxation of Ukrainians working in Poland is discussed in furtive whispers, if at all. This is not a good thing.

So what are the actual fiscal duties of Ukrainians working in Poland ?  It would seem that nobody is too interested in learning the full answer to this question, contenting themselves with some sliver of the big picture – such as the bit of trivia to the effect that 316,000 workers from Ukraine pay contributions into the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) system (data from 2017). "Ukrainians Ride to the Rescue of ZUS", Dziennik Gazeta Prawna trumpeted, noting that this accumulated injection by Ukrainian immigrants leaves the national pensions system somewhat better placed to ride out the recent reduction of the minimum retirement age. (...)

Unequal taxation. “That provision, concordant with the model double tax treaty, was implemented for the sole purpose of accommodating members of the liberal professions who find themselves working in a foreign country – scientists, physicians, artists, engineers and the like”, explains Dr Janusz Fiszer, attorney and tax advisor – in the early 1990s involved, as a consultant to Poland’s minister of finance, in negotiation of double tax treaties following Poland’s transition to a market economy. The problem, however, is that, these days, just about anybody can avail themselves of this legislative provision, or at least try to. “The Polish tax authorities, supported by the odd administrative court, adopt the position that, say, a Ukrainian welder working on a Polish construction site pursuant to a contract commissioning him to perform certain tasks is practicing a liberal profession. Thus, as regards Ukrainian labourers purporting to work on such ‘commissions’ in Poland, the Polish fiscal system is, in fact, acting against the fiscal interests of Polish polity”, Fiszer elaborates.

The full text of this article is available in this week’s issue of Polityka.