Dear Readers,
We present to you the January edition of the WBW Weremczuk Bobeł & Partners law firm newsletter.
In this issue, we focus on new solutions that entered the Polish legal order at the beginning of 2017. These include Act on Minimum Wage, VAT Act and CIT Act as well as lowering the cash transaction limit for entrepreneurs.
We also invite you to read the article on changes in the Civil Code concerning determination of deadlines and introduction of the possibility of establishing joint irregular representation. 
We wish you a pleasant reading!
The WBW Law Firm Team

Revolutionary changes in minimum wage calculation rules

On 1 January 2017 the Act of 22 July 2016 on Amending the Minimum Wage Act and certain other laws came into force.
The amendment introduced minimum hourly wage for particular civil-law agreements. The rate will be PLN 13 gross per hour. The wage level is adjusted to the annually established minimum wage (currently PLN 2000 gross per month).  This means that the minimum hourly rate will increase along with the growth of the minimal wage for employees. The aim of the regulation is to prevent the abuse of civil law contracts and to provide additional protection for employees receiving low-level remuneration. 
The minimum rate will apply to agreements referred to in Art. 734 and Art. 750 of the Civil Code that are performed by contractors performing services for an entrepreneur or an entity within the range of their business activity. The new rules also concern self-employed workers who provide their services personally (without employing workers or cooperating with contractors). However, the hourly rate does not concern persons that determine themselves when and where they perform their tasks and work on a commission basis. The rules do not apply to agreements for care services described in the Act.
More importantly, the civil law contract parties have been charged with obligations connected with keeping a record of the number of hours of service or contractual task performance and confirming the provisions of an agreement in the form stipulated by law. Another new responsibility involves documentation keeping for the files describing the number of hours worked within a given civil law contract.
The Act removed regulations differentiating the amount of a permanent employee remuneration based on the professional experience. From the beginning of the year, all employees, regardless of their experience, will receive minimum wage in  a uniform, full amount. The Act also includes regulations requiring the National Labour Inspectorate to ensure compliance with the obligation to provide the minimum wage.  The penalties applied  for infringement of the rules will range from PLN 1000 to PLN 30000.
Filip Zelek

A New Year amendment package for the economic law

The year 2017 has brought a series of changes to the economic law, e.g. liberalisation of the gas market, the liquidation of the ministry of treasury and, most notably, key changes to value added tax (VAT) and corporate income tax (CIT).

On 1 January 2017, new regulations on liquidation of the Ministry of Treasury came into force. The role of the ownership policy coordinator will be ascribed to the Chair of the Council of Ministers.

What is more, a Company Council with the participation of the Treasury and state legal persons will be formed as an advisory body providing full professional support to the Prime Minister in matters concerning coordination of the ownership supervision as well as issuing opinions on candidates for company governing bodies with Treasury shareholding and state legal persons.

One of the most important changes is the implementation of the principle of legal certainty to the Polish legal system. The Act also assumes establishment of important  guarantees for the protection of entrepreneurs' interests in the course of control e.g. the possibility to bring legal proceedings due to the lengthiness of the controlling actions as well as the obligation to plan the control and substantiation.

When it comes to the liberalisation of the gas market, the new solutions will allow for gradual withdrawal of the natural gas trading companies' current obligation. The natural gas price regulation is to be liquidated, however the price release will be carried at different times for various groups of recipients.

The biggest of the described amendments is the VAT Act amendment. Its goal is to limit malpractice and to tighten the levying of VAT through e.g. restoration of the so called administrative sanction and limiting of the quarterly settlements. Additionally, the 8% and 23% rates will be kept.

Moreover, the CIT rate for small taxpayers will be lowered from 19% to 15%. The reduced rate will apply to CIT payers whose revenue from sales (including due  tax on goods and services) does not exceed EUR 1,2mln per annum. Another CIT Act amendment entering into force provides for lowering the limit of cash transactions for companies from EUR 15000 to PLN 15000.

Marta Szurek

The lower cash transaction limit for companies as of 1 January 2017

The amendment to the Act on personal income tax (PIT) and corporate income tax (CIT) and Act on freedom of economic activity came into force on 1 January 2017. It introduces the reduction of cash transaction limit for companies from EUR 15000 to PLN15000. The amendment also provides that payments made above the mentioned limit without the use of a bank account will not be qualified as tax deductible. In case of carrying out transactions at variance with the Act and bookkeeping them as tax deductible, the entrepreneur is obliged to diminish the tax deductible income accordingly or, if that is not possible, to lower their income in the month of the transaction.
Introducing a lower limit is motivated by expected reduction of 'grey zone' and increase in the budgetary revenue. The Ministry of Finance gives Spain and Portugal as an example of countries where decreasing the cash transaction limit resulted in the reduction of the 'grey zone' by around 2% GDP.   
According to the new rules, the transaction must be carried out through a payment account while in the previous version of regulations it must have been done through a bank account. This means that, in line with the Ministry of Finance's clarification, when transactions are carried out with the use of payment instruments connected with payment accounts (including cards, payment systems such as PayPal, PayU etc.), the requirement of using a payment account will be fulfilled.
However, according to the Ministry of Finance, the regulations on these matters do not concern cross liability, i.e. deduction and barter, which do not belong to the payment category and are not connected with the payment account. Therefore, the regulations do not apply to such transactions.
Michał Piekarz
This Newsletter is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended and shall not be treated as professional advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

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