Rules for granting powers of attorney from the year 2016
The new rules of the Tax Regulations Act relating to the types of taxpayers' authorised representation and the ways of granting it entered into force on 1 January 2016. The amendments have been introduced by the Act of 10 September 2015 on Amending the Tax Regulations Act and Some Other Acts (Journal of Laws of 2015, item 1649). This information presents the most important effects of the changes to keep in mind in case an attorney represents you before tax authorities.
The types of powers of attorney
The amended Tax Regulations Act (hereinafter the TRA) provides for three new categories of the powers of attorney:
- general power of attorney;
- special power of attorney;
- mandate to deliver documents.
Granting general power of attorney will be possible only after 1 July 2016, while other powers of attorney from the beginning of this year are the only documents on the basis of which one may act on behalf of the taxpayer.
As in previous years, there is also an option to authorise a natural person to only sign the declaration.
An important new feature to which special attention should be paid is the obligation to submit the power of attorney on specific official forms instead of in the form of an ordinary document defining the scope of authorisation as before.
What identification data should a power of attorney include?
The amending act has introduced specific information to be communicated to tax authorities on power of attorney forms developed specifically for this purpose. The following data must be included:
- details of the principal, including their tax ID;
- details of the attorney, including their tax ID, in the case of a non-resident - the number and series of their passport or other identity document, or other identification number if they do not have a tax ID;
- address of the agent for deliveries of documents in the country;
- in the case of a lawyer, a legal counsel or a tax advisor - electronic (e-mail) address.
By contrast, an attorney established for specific accounting procedures for tax on goods and services, being a non-resident having no tax ID, as before, must provide an identification number assigned to them in their country for tax purposes. In the absence of such a number, the attorney shall provide the number and series of their passport or other document confirming their identity. The attorney is also obliged to provide their e-mail address.
General power of attorney - what is the scope of authorisation?
On the basis of the general power of attorney, the attorney will be able to act on behalf of the principal in all tax matters and other matters within the jurisdiction of tax authorities or tax audit authorities (Art. 138d § 1 of the TRA). Therefore, submitting a separate power of attorney for each tax case will not be required, which is supposed to enhance and facilitate interaction with tax authorities. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the general power of attorney will not authorise you to sign tax declarations - in this respect, a separate power of attorney will be necessary.
The establishment, change of scope, cancellation or termination of the general power of attorney as a rule will be communicated by the principal only in electronic form through the tax portal. Only in the case of technical problems preventing the submission of an electronic document may the general attorney be submitted in writing.
Only a tax advisor, a lawyer or a legal counsel may independently declare the establishment, change of scope, cancellation or termination of the power of attorney granted them by the taxpayer.
An important facilitation for persons conducting business activity is the possibility to submit a general power of attorney through the Central Registration and Information on Economic Activity (in Polish CEiDG).
Submitting the general power of attorney (its amendment and cancellation), as in the case of the power of attorney to sign tax declarations submitted by means of electronic communication, will not be subject to stamp duty.
Special power of attorney
A special power of attorney, as the powers of attorney granted before - authorises the attorney to act in a given tax case or other specific case within the jurisdiction of a tax authority or a tax audit authority (Art. 138c § 1 of the TRA).
This type of power of attorney may be granted in writing, verbally recorded in the minutes or in the form of an electronic document.
Mandate to deliver documents
If a general or special attorney has not been established by a party to the proceedings, the party is required to appoint an agent for deliveries of documents in the country in the event of certain circumstances, i.e. when:
- they change the address of residence or habitual residence to the address in a non-member state of the European Union;
- they have no address of residence or habitual residence in the Republic of Poland or in other Member State of the European Union and they submit an application to commence proceedings or they have been delivered a notice of initiation of proceedings in the country.
However, there will be no obligation to appoint the agent for deliveries of documents if the documents are submitted by means of electronic communication.
Power of attorney to sign declarations
The power of attorney to sign declarations is a separate type of the powers of attorney and, as the name suggests, it is a document only authorising the attorney to sign certain types of declarations. Importantly, this type of the power of attorney does not authorise the attorney to represent the entity before tax authorities, therefore a special power of attorney will be required in the case of, e.g. initiation of a tax audit or ongoing proceedings.
A major change introduced in this regard by amending the Tax Regulations Act is the option to submit or cancel the power of attorney to sign declarations in the form of an electronic document (Art. 80a § 2b of the TRA).
To sum up, when granting the power of attorney according to the new rules, you should make certain to use the models specified by the Minister of Finance which are applicable to all types of powers of attorney submitted to tax authorities from the beginning of this year. It should also be noted that the hitherto-used powers of attorney, as well as their officially certified copies and certified true copies included in the case file by 31 December 2015 shall be considered a special power of attorney and one does not need to update them.
If you have any questions or concerns related to the new regulations, we strongly encourage you to contact our expert Przemysław POWIERZA:
tel. +48 61 8515 766
fax +48 61 8515 786