“Discriminatory” and "xenophobic": that is how major international distributors describe the new tax approved by the conservative Polish government earlier this week. Starting 1 August, all major supermarket chains will have to pay this new tax.
Progressive tax rate
From 1 August onward, Poland will tax supermarket revenue additionally, based on a progressive tax rate: distributors with a turnover above 170 million zloty (38.3 million euro) will have to pay a 1.4 % tax. Companies below 17 million zloty (3.8 million euro) are exempt, according to the government's decision earlier this week. In between these two thresholds, the tax level is 0.8%.
The so-called "supermarket tax" has to "guarantee equal rights and opportunities for small Polish entrepreneurs compared to the major parties", Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo said, admitting the tax will mostly hit the major distributors who all happen to (coincidentally?) be foreign companies.
“We oppose this discriminatory project", Maria Andrzej Falinski said. She is the chairman of the Polish trade federation POHiD, which represents companies like French groups Auchan, Carrefour, Castorama and E.Leclerc, German distributors Kaufland, Lidl and Metro and Portuguese Jeronimo Martins and British Tesco.
POHiD plans to use "all legal and institutional means" to fight this new fiscal legislation which has been labeled "economic xenophobia" according to French press agency AFP's Falinski, aimed towards an industry that invested fifty billion euro in Poland and created employment for some 200,000 people.
Plans for this new tax were met with huge resistance already, prompting the government to add several exceptions to the legislation. Web shops and several items (like healthcare items and several food items) are exempt from taxation.