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New SAF-T and new administrative penalties already from April

From 1 April 2020, large enterprises will be obliged to submit a new SAF-T (in Polish: JPK_VAT) that is going to replace the VAT return and the previous SAF-T. Other entities, i.e. small and medium-sized enterprises and micro-entrepreneurs will have to follow suit from 1 July 2020; however, they have the right to apply this new solution already from April this year. They must keep it in mind, though, that once they submit a JPK_VAT, they cannot return to the old regime.

NOTE: As Jadwiga Emilewicz, the Minister of Development, said on 11 March 2020, the introduction of the new JPK_VAT shall be postponed until 1 July 2020 due to exceptional circumstances related to the coronavirus outbreak. We will keep you posted.

File structure

The new JPK_VAT is a tool comprising two sections: return and register.

The return section shall replace VAT-7 and VAT-7K returns with appendices: VAT-ZZ, VAT-ZD and VAT-ZT, taxpayer’s requests submitted together with the return, e.g. on VAT refund credit, as well as domestic recapitulative statement (VAT-27).

The return section includes:

  1. specific items corresponding to VAT-7 return items: data necessary to calculate the amount of output tax, calculate the amount of input tax, calculate the amount of tax to be paid to the tax office or indicate an excess of input tax over the output tax to be carried forward to subsequent accounting periods, and the tax refund, along with the method of this refund;
  2. instructions, informing that if the tax is not paid within the applicable deadline or is not paid in full, the present VAT return shall be the basis for issuing an enforcement order in line with regulations on enforcement proceedings in administration;
  3. instructions, informing that stating an untruth or concealing the truth that results in tax evasion is subject to liability under the provisions of the Penal Fiscal Code.

The register section of the JPK_VAT comprises the sales and purchase register. Apart from data that used to be included in SAF-Ts, you must report some other information concerning a given transaction (e.g. obligatory split payment mechanism, trading specific groups of goods, transactions concluded by related entities, etc.). Fields of the register section of SAF-T may be as follows:

  1. obligatory fields – entries shall be made at all times, if the required data is impossible to be determined (e.g. VAT number or business name of the contractor), enter “NONE”;
  2. optional fields – entries shall only be made if the required information is available, otherwise the field shall be left blank;
  3. facultative fields – entries shall be made voluntarily; if there is no entry (e.g. contact phone number), the field shall be left blank.

Method of submission

The JPK_VAT can only be submitted electronically within the deadlines in place, as appropriate for taxpayers filing monthly or quarterly returns. JPK_VAT files can be signed with an electronic signature, trusted profile or authorisation data. Upon submission, the taxpayer may download an electronic official acknowledgement of receipt (in Polish: UPO).

Administrative penalties

Registers should include data consistent with the actual state of accounting documents. In the event of any errors in SAF-T, the taxpayer may make corrections themselves as a self-check within 14 days after they identified any errors or data inconsistent with the facts in the register. If the tax office identifies errors in the submitted register, the head of the tax office shall request the taxpayer to correct the SAF-T within 14 days after the request delivery, indicating all the errors that have been identified. If the correction is not made or explanations are not provided, or explanations are provided without stating that the register does not include errors or explanations are provided after the deadline, the head of the tax office shall impose a fine on the taxpayer in the amount of PLN 500 per each error.
In the statement of reasons to the draft act it is stated that the new tool is supposed to simplify VAT refunds and make them more taxpayer-friendly. However, given the level of detail of optional fields and the amount of penalties that may be imposed if any errors are identified in the VAT return, we must say that taxpayers will, in fact, find it harder to get their tax right every month, as they will have to report much more than before and introduce time-consuming (hence costly) self-check principles.

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