If the most recent government plans are any indication, proceedings for imposition of penalties for late payments are to be conducted not by the head of the National Fiscal Administration, but by the president of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. Why the change ?  It’s hard to say, really. The fiscal authorities would certainly be best placed to assume this role, while UOKiK will need a lot of time just to get going, argues Bernadeta Kasztelan-Świetlik of GESSEL.

It is a matter of general agreement that recurring delays in settlements of commercial transactions constitute a major problem in day-to-day business. According to “Receivables Portfolio of Polish Enterprises”, a study conducted by the National Debts Register in cooperation with the Finance Business in Poland Conference, 2018 brought an increase in the percentage of business enterprises which experience problems collecting receivables from their contracting parties – some 89% of companies face difficulties of this sort !  The percentage of companies which perceive a deterioration of the payments situation has also increased, from 13.5% to 16.2%. On the other hand, the percentage of entities which have never grappled with payment delays has dropped from 15.1% to 11.3%. Accordingly, measures to improve this state of affairs are quite welcome, but at the same time the new solutions should produce results commensurate to the outlays, producing real results rather than generating undue expense. (...)

Penalties for dishonest counterparties delayed

Against this background, the proposal to expand the competences of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) rather than tapping the existing potential of the tax authorities is incomprehensible. Has the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology not heard of the synergy effect ?  While conducting proceedings and levying penalties as such are not a problem for the President of UOKiK, procurement of the information which the tax authorities have at their fingertips even as we speak is. If performed by the tax authorities, a check of whether a given enterprise settles its debts within the applicable deadlines could be simply another element of a typical VAT audit (...)

Bernadeta Kasztelan-Świetlik

b.kasztelan@gessel.pl 

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