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Working independent / creative industry in Poland

13 Sep 2007 /  #1
I am thinking of moving to Poland. I work as an independent in France and may well be getting a largish contract that will allow me to earn something like 60000 us dollar gross per year. I will be working on the net so I will not need to have a Polish employer etc.

I would probably be seeking to be a permanent resident. I am getting conflicting opinions about the tax rate. 19% for businesses and up to 40% for individuals. Could anyone tell me or suggest the best way to do this? I am European. Thanks.
Avalon 4 | 1,068  
13 Sep 2007 /  #2
I have been told that the business tax is set at 19% which may reduce at some time in the future. Individual tax is at 3 rates, 19%, 40% & 50% but I cannot confirm this. What about National Insurance?
davidpeake 14 | 451  
13 Sep 2007 /  #3
19% is correct as a one man business, but you will still have to pay ZUS per month. Not sure how much that is, or what else you may need to pay.
Avalon 4 | 1,068  
13 Sep 2007 /  #4
I am paying ZUS, 253 PLN per month, this is a voluntary payment as I do not work in Poland.
OP daveperso  
13 Sep 2007 /  #5
Thanks for the quick feedback ! I was expecting to have to wait days for an answer ! Apparently, there are two types of business, (from reading the forums) one which is relatively easy to set up where you are self-employed (but where taxation is higher?) and another which is quite complicated.

So I could set up as an independant and pay 19% business tax and then I would pay ZUS on top which I guess is dependent on earnings. I didn't know about the new 50% tax rate. That is high. Paying 50% on 60000 US dollars would be exceptionally high in western Europe, but maybe for the Polish economy, it is in the high bracket. It certainly would tend to put me off having foreign income in Poland.

I am wondering too if I could take advantage of the fact that my earnings are non-Polish. If I was a non-resident, then I believe I would not pay tax on my earnings? But do I have to be resident somewhere ! Could I spend 5 months in France, 5 months in Poland and 2 months in Britain for example?! If anyone has any thoughts, thanks again.
Avalon 4 | 1,068  
13 Sep 2007 /  #6
Being in the EU, there is a reciprical agreement regarding tax, if you are non-Polish and pay your tax and national insurance in the UK, you should not be liable for tax in Poland. After one year of leaving the UK, you would need to pay ZUS for the usual health insurance but this would not be based on your earnings as it is a flat rate contribution.

These are the facts as I understand them. You should always check with the relevant government departments as they seem to change the rules on a daily basis.
OP daveperso  
14 Sep 2007 /  #7
Thanks Avalon,

I have now understood that my contract is confirmed so I am looking very seriously at the possibilities for a move maybe next year.

I have since learnt too that taxation for individuals running businesses has been brought in line with the corporate taxation rate of 19%. I wasn't aware that ZUS was a flat rate. This I need to determine. I also need to find out if services exported to a country outside the EU are subject to VAT.(Value added tax). From the texts I have been reading, this is not very clear.

In France where I am living at the moment, you don't have to charge VAT on 'immaterial good' or services to countries outside the EU. My company is American.

On moving to Poland, I would inform the authorities in France that I was no longer resident there, and inform the Polish authorities of my status immediately on arrival, rather than wait for the 12 months.

I appreciate that the rules change often which does not help.
Avalon 4 | 1,068  
14 Sep 2007 /  #8
On arrival in Poland you will need to get an address, then, you will need to register with the local authourity, then, you will need to get a residents permit from the goverment department in one of the larger cities (Krakow, Warsaw,etc)(The residents permit also doubles as an ID card which is useful as it saves having to carry around your passport) These offices have forms in English advising you what documentation you will need, you will also need 4 passport photo's (remember to show your left ear otherwise they will make you take them again, there is nothing on the form that tells you this). You will need to open a bank account in Poland and take a current statement with you (this also was not mentioned on the forms but is required) to show that you can support yourself.
OP daveperso  
14 Sep 2007 /  #9
Hi Avalon,

I don't know what nationality you are, but can you tell me about some of the antagonism there might be amongst SOME of the Polish against foreign workers, or specific nationalities that I have been reading about on the forum.

I would be earning foreign money and spending that money in Poland so I think I would be bringing something to the country. I might want to buy a house or flat or something though. Would I be considered as a nasty foreigner who is pushing up property prices?

We have the same problem here in France incidentally where property prices have doubled in the few years due, in part, to many British/Dutch buyers. However, people generally accept it.

14 Sep 2007 /  #10
The residents permit also doubles as an ID card which is useful as it saves having to carry around your passport

You have to be careful about this as they have made this obsolete now and they are deciding what to do next, at the moment my "karta pobytu" is worthless and they told me today to come back in two months after the elections as nothing has been decided yet, well thats Polish offices for ya, love em or hate em they still make you smile :O)
Avalon 4 | 1,068  
14 Sep 2007 /  #11
Daveperso.................I can only speak from personal experience, since moving here, I have been shown nothing but kindness and friendship. My money comes from abroad and this has not been a problem with anyone. I live in a village outside of a small town and my partner is an English teacher and I give her students free "conversation" lessons a couple of times a week. The neighbours are fantastic and everyone is in and out of each others houses all the time. If you have not spent much time in Poland a lot of things will seem strange and pointless to you, even very frustrating at times. Have an open mind and never think you are superior, chill out to a slower pace of life and enjoy.
14 Sep 2007 /  #12
Living in Poland/Tax in Poland thread, post#46 by Ryszard contains an example calculation of income tax for income 72000PLZ ($27000) a year. As your income will be higher you can consider the effective tax rate calculated there a lower bound for your tax.

> if I could take advantage of the fact that my earnings are non-Polish.

Daveperso: As long as you are a Polish tax resident you have to calculate the tax due based on your whole income. The agreements about avoiding double taxation allow you to subtract taxes paid in a different country from the tax due in Poland.

> Could I spend 5 months in France, 5 months in Poland and 2 months in Britain

The rules deciding whether you are a tax resident in Poland or not are vague and written so that they leave the decision to the tax authorities in each individual case. If you spend in Poland more that 183 days in a year you are a Polish tax resident. If you don't then the decision is (officially) based on how strong your "personal or economic ties" with Poland are.
OP daveperso  
16 Sep 2007 /  #13
Thanks very much for the feedback. I spent just over a week in Poland this summer and was pleasantly surprised. I found the people to be really nice, welcoming, friendly etc and was also surprised at the apparent affluence of most people, considering what I had heard about average salaries etc. I was in Poznan, Krakov and Warsaw which I recognise might not be typical Polish towns.

Regarding tax, I understand now that if you are an individual earning money via business ie. as an independent I take it, then the tax rate has been brought into line with corporate taxation rates ie. 19%. I am not sure about VAT though. I need to find out if I would have to charge VAT to a customer (ie my employer in effect) for services external to Poland and the EU. This is not the case in France but I can't tell from the documentation I have read if this is true or not. It would obviously make a big difference to my earnings if I had to pay 20% VAT, because it would be me who would effectively be paying.

On another point, what are the winters like? I was there, like I said, in August and the weather was great. (It rained a little in Poznan). But when I tell people here that I may be moving to Poland, their first reaction is the cold. Having said that, I do live right in the south of France where anything north of Toulouse is considered the 'North' !

I think the idea of having non-residence status anywhere is probably unrealistic and not a good idea though I shall look into this more closely.

With the dollar/euro rate being bad for importing dollars at the moment, and the very high rate of employers tax in France, I am trying to make my money run a little more. And I really liked the mentality of the people there.
robert - | 4  
15 Oct 2008 /  #14
Merged: working in the creative industry within poland

hi i am a creative producer of film photography and have many connections to get artists work exhibited in london and i am currently thinking of relocating to poland for good.......any one have any ideas on how i may find a job. Atrist's and somewhere to live...?

thanks Robert
krakow 1 | 42  
19 Oct 2008 /  #15
Hi Rob, Krakow is a great place for what you do, Loads of exhibitions etc , and the local development is definately on the rise here.

Great place for someone like you (artistic) to stay , ive been here 6 yrs and absolutely love it (although there are growing pains to get accustomed to)

any other detailed questions just ask/pm

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