ALERT: Will the shield announced by the Polish government suffice against the corona-crisis ?
The Polish authorities are rolling out all and sundry measures to address the Covid-19 pandemic as it makes itself felt in Poland. The fact that the country has formally been put on an epidemiological risk footing is bound to have repercussions for consumers and for businesses alike, not to mention the state finances. In this connection, the government has just announced the main premises of its “anti-crisis shield” which, hopefully, will mitigate damage to the Polish economy.
A joint press conference by president Andrzej Duda and prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki was used to announce a PLN 212 billion package (this figure corresponds to approximately 10% of Poland’s GDP) to help enterprises and their employees, first and foremost as regards preserving liquidity and protecting jobs.
According to this general announcement, the “anti-crisis shield” will rest on five “pillars”:
Employee security (PLN 30 billion),
Financing for enterprises (PLN 74.2 billion),
Healthcare (PLN 7.5 billion),
Shoring up the financial system (PLN 70.3 billion),
Public investments programme (PLN 30 billion).
The key elements of the support package, as announced, will include:
- Support for individuals working on the basis of employment contracts. The state will help finance wages by up to 40% of the average salary in 2019;
- Support for the self-employed and for individuals providing labour on the basis of various civil law agreements, who may be eligible for a one-time disbursement of PLN 2,000 gross from the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS);
- Childcare benefits, which will be preserved if school and pre-school closures are extended;
- Preferential loans for business enterprises – entities with a workforce of up to 9 will be eligible for a PLN 5,000 loan, and SMEs may receive PFR Inwestycje support towards increasing their share capital and/or bonds (this support will have the aggregate value of PLN 6 billion). 100,000 SMEs may be eligible for credit facilities with de minimis guarantees of up to PLN 3,5 million. Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego will subsidise interest payments on loans, and the Industrial Development Agency will provide transport companies with support in refinancing their leasing contracts;
- Possibility of deferring payment of taxes and social insurance contributions without incurring extra fees or interest; deadline for personal income tax returns filing moved back until the end of May.
The Polish Ministry of Finance itself is promising the following facilitations for taxpayers:
- Possibility of retroactive settlement of tax losses – persons whose 2020 revenues fall by at least 50% vis a vis 2019 may deduct from their 2019 income a loss of up to PLN 5 million (subject to settlement over future years) – in short, taxpayers are being promised the possibility of amending their tax filings for 2019;
- “Small” taxpayers may opt out of simplified flat rate tax remittances in 2020 in favour of monthly tax advances paid out of current income for the period of March – December 2020.
- Extended deadlines for remittance of advances towards tax for March and April 2020.
- Deadline for submitting new VAT consolidated control files moved back to 1 July 2020.
- Deadline for Central Register of Beneficial Owner filings moved back to 13 July 2020.
- Tax and customs audits and proceedings are to be suspended for the duration of the official epidemiological risk regime.
The above points are to be elaborated into specific proposals over the coming days, and the government has announced that the applicable legislative acts will be approved in a fast track procedure.
We will keep you dated on any developments in further alerts.