RSM Poland


Poland Suggests GPS Tracking in VAT Fraud Clampdown

Reproduced with permission from International Tax Monitor, 221 ITM, 11/16/16. Copyright 2016 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) <>


By Jan Stojaspal

Nov. 15 — In a bid to clamp down on value-added tax fraud, the Polish government is proposing to subject “sensitive goods" — products and commodities considered to be major sources of value added tax fraud — to electronic tracking.



  • Petrochemical firms, gas station chains, logistics companies, large retail groups will have to comply
  • Online registration of shipments to start Jan. 1; GPS tracking in July


Krzysztof Ugolik, indirect tax manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Warsaw, said the companies most heavily impacted and obliged to comply with the requirements of the GPS tracking system include domestic petrochemical groups PKN Orlen SA and GRUPA LOTOS S.A.; international gas station chains such as Shell, BP and Statoil; and foreign retailers such as the U.K.'s Tesco, Portugal's Jeronimo Martins and Germany's Metro Group.

He cited DB Schenker as an example of a major logistics company that will also be impacted.

The proposal, published Nov. 10 and subject to a brief inter-ministerial consultation that ends today, aims to establish an online monitoring system which, in combination with GPS tracking of transport vehicles,
will give Polish tax and customs authorities real-time insight into how such sensitive goods—including motor fuels and their derivatives, heating fuels, lubricants, vegetable oils that can be used as fuel additives, deicers, thinners, solvents, as well as dried tobacco—move in and out of Poland.

The proposal is similar to Hungary's electronic road transportation control system (EKAER), which launched Jan. 1, 2015. It is also inspired by similar measures in Portugal, Marcin Brzezin, manager of tax at KPMG Tax in Warsaw, told Bloomberg BNA Nov. 15.

And it is projected to come into force on Jan. 1 as an online registration platform with GPS tracking of transport vehicles being added in July, Tomasz Wagner, an indirect tax manager at Warsaw-based Ernst & Young, told Bloomberg BNA in a Nov. 15 telephone interview.

The proposal needs approval by the Council of Ministers, the decision-making body of the Polish government, ahead of submission to the parliament.

Compliance Burden, Costs and Benefits

Compliance with the proposal spells costs for companies—both on the hardware side, where compatibility issues with existing fleet management solutions may arise, and on the software side, where companies will have to ensure timely and accurate reporting, some of which will actually depend on driver input.

But longer-term benefits are likely to prevail, Wagner said. “I think all honest taxpayers, be they producers, retailers or transport companies, will benefit from these changes because the changes proposed are really focused on eliminating the gray zone,” he said.

“In the past two or three years, we have seen that small improvements of the tax law have had significant impact on incomes of producers of steel elements, for example. In their case, reverse charge was introduced, and their incomes increased by millions of zloty per year.”

Przemyslaw Powierza, a tax partner and adviser at RSM Poland, was far less optimistic, seeing the proposal as yet another government measure that will task companies with producing additional reams of information that tax authorities would not know how to effectively use.

“They collect now since some months ago so much data, they contact us so frequently,” he told Bloomberg BNA in a Nov. 15 telephone interview. “This causes additional time that needs to be invested into the preparation of answers of these questions, but I need to say that I can't see the aim, and I can't see the results.”

As adoption of the proposal is widely expected and time for implementation is short, “the biggest issue” is raising awareness of the new measures, which will apply to both domestic and foreign companies, Ugolik said.

“A truck driver driving from Russia to German via Poland will also have to report sensitive goods, and if he doesn't do so and he gets caught, fines will be imposed on such a driver,” he said.

Therefore, it is crucial that efforts are made “to properly inform and make businesses aware of this new requirement—not only in Poland but also outside of Poland—so foreign companies can prepare themselves if they are in the business moving such sensitive goods through Poland,” he added.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jan Stojaspal in Prague at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Penny Sukhraj at

For More Information

Text of the government proposal, in Polish, is at: