Much of the meeting focused on the most pressing issue for businesses in Poland in recent years – the ease of paying taxes. Sagita Muco, senior economist at the World Bank and Mikołaj Woźniak, tax partner at PwC Polska, presented the report’s findings.
The release of the World Bank's annual Doing Business report is always widely anticipated by inward investment agencies, location selection managers, COOs and politicians. Ranking countries by ten metrics relating to the ease (or not) of setting up and running a business across nearly 200 countries often provokes bitter controversies. Poland - which had made its way from 75th in the table in 2008 up to 24th in 2016 - has now slipped back to 40th place. One needs to remember though that the Doing Business score is relative – it compares Polish economy with other countries, and the progress Poland has made since 2010 is outstanding. The slipping back has happened largely because other countries are reforming at a faster pace.
Ease of paying taxes has been one of the main topics for the IGCC for years.
As the example of Estonia shows, the reputation of being a business-friendly economy does not depend on the tax rates solely. To a great extent, the simplicity of paying taxes counts – whereas the average time that a company needs to dedicate to tax compliance amounts to an average of 162 hours across OECD countries, it takes 334 hours in Poland. The digitisation and TaxTech solutions that have been introduced in Poland in recent years set out a very good trend, yet they were focused primarily on making tax collection easier for the tax authorities. The best example of such tool is the SAF-T file (JPK) that provides the tax authorities with much information in one file, but for the companies, especially at the time of its implementation, it was a revolution for which they were not prepared. As stressed by Mikołaj Woźniak from PwC, to achieve a friendly business environment, TaxTech solutions need to support companies as well making tax compliance easier and less time-consuming.