The BEST Guide to POLAND
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Posts by nierozumiem  

Joined: 18 Jan 2008 / Male ♂
Last Post: 12 Nov 2010
Threads: Total: 9 / Live: 1 / Archived: 8
Posts: Total: 118 / Live: 28 / Archived: 90
From: Małopolska
Speaks Polish?: trochę
Interests: Property

Displayed posts: 29
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12 Nov 2010
Law / EU citizen's residency Registration Certificate: Poland application form [14]

Permanent residency really does carry no implication at all - for taxation purposes

Interesting, because the Urzad Skarbowy is adamant that in the instance that someone is a tax resident, but not a permanent resident of Poland, that no tax is due to Poland for gifts or inheritance outside the territory of Poland from non-tax residents.

For example – Your great Aunt Agnes in Sydney drops dead and leaves you a house, complete with 50 cats (or alternatively she gifts you money). You may have estate tax issues with Australia, but Poland will not attempt to tax the inheritance / gift if you are a temporary resident. The situation would be different if you were a permanent resident, or Aunt Agnes was living in Poland, or if the house she gave you was in Poland. Well, this is what I have been told directly from the Tax Office. I’m interested to know if someone has heard differently.
12 Nov 2010
Law / EU citizen's residency Registration Certificate: Poland application form [14]

Yes if you are in Poland more than 185 days in a year the Urzad Skarbowy considers you tax resident in Poland and taxes all of your global income, both active and passive. But this does not apply to gifts and inheritance.

This is the only difference I am aware of, but I suppose there could well be others, and I see no need for a rude surprise. I'm happy as a temp resident.
12 Nov 2010
Law / EU citizen's residency Registration Certificate: Poland application form [14]

Some help please! I've read this thread with some concern. I have a 5 year temporary "Zaświadczenia o zarejestrowaniu pobytu obywatela Unii Europejskiej". I still have a year left on it, so the process of re-applying is not of immediate concern.

But I am worried that when the time comes to renew I will be forced to re-apply for a "permanent residency". Do I understand this correctly? My intention was to re-apply for another 5 yr temp residency.

I don't see any upside to permanent residency and there are tax implications associated with the permanent residency which I do not wish to encounter.
16 Jul 2010
Real Estate / Documents requested from foreigners to rent a flat long term in Poland? Invoicing / Contract. [14]

I regularly rent to foreigners in Krakow and I require photo ID + a signed contract + the equivalent of month's rent as security deposit + the first month of rent upfront + the final month of rent upfront.

I would be very skeptical of any landlord looking for 12 months of rent upfront. In general, landlords in Poland are happier to rent to foreigners than to native Poles. A clean, sober, foreigner shouldn't have any trouble renting an apartment in Poland with nothing more than a passport, contract, and deposit/rent money.

On the flip-side, for your own protection, you can ask the landlord for photo ID and proof that he/she is the true owner of the property.
13 Jul 2010
Law / Foreign retirees taxed in Poland? [25]

I have applied for US Social Security-yep, I'm old. That money is not taxable in Poland, but it is in the US.

Hi Scottie, I just want to be clear on what you are saying - You are tax resident in Poland, you collect Social Security checks from the US, you pay income tax on the SS to the US, but you do not pay income tax on this money to Poland? Do you have something from the Polish Tax office that allows you to do this?

BTW, as you said you are currently working in Poland. Many American expats are not aware that as of March 2009, the US and Poland have a Totalization Treaty in place, which is very good news. I think that your current contributions to your Polish pension can be used to bolster your SS.
13 Jul 2010
Law / Foreign retirees taxed in Poland? [25]

no.. but yes to citizens

Resident Aliens (green card holders) are certainly taxed by the IRS on their worldwide income. The IRS does not differentiate between citizens and resident aliens.

IRS publication 54: "As a U.S. citizen or resident alien, your worldwide income generally is subject to U.S. income tax, regardless of where you are living. Also, you are subject to the same income tax filing requirements that apply to U.S. citizens or resident aliens living in the United States."

This isn't relevant in the reverse situation. A dual Polish citizen living in the US has no tax obligation to Polish earned income.

Oops, don't know where my train of thought was going. I meant to say that a dual Polish citizen living in the US has no tax obligation to Poland for US earned income.

Matina, there is a huge interest by US retirees in Offshore Retirement Havens, countries which do not tax worldwide income. There are endless websites devoted to this. Some countries, like Panama & Bahamas, are ideal for this sort of thing. But Poland, like most countries in the world, is not a good choice. The income tax thresholds are much lower than in the US, and income is taxed worldwide.
12 Jul 2010
Law / Foreign retirees taxed in Poland? [25]

Matina, it really depends from where you are asking the question. US citizens & resident aliens (green card holders) are taxed on their worldwide income regardless of residence. Polish income tax is based on tax residency. Anyone spending more than 180 days in a year in Poland is taxed on their worldwide income.

So in a situation where a US citizen retiree becomes tax resident in Poland they will be taxed by both the IRS and the Polish Tax Office. There is a tax treaty in place between the US and Poland which will allow you to offset taxes paid to either country, in this situation your Polish tax obligations will likely exceed any US tax obligations. The Polish taxes can be used as a "foreign tax credit" on your 1040 and you will probably end up paying no US income tax.

some of my friends are dual citizens

This isn't relevant in the reverse situation. A dual Polish citizen living in the US has no tax obligation to Polish earned income.

Notice that people were just mouthing off

I suppose that is one way to describe tax law
2 Jun 2010
Travel / cheapest air from US to Krakow [13]

The cheapest transatlantic flight to Poland is by far with Iceland Express. Round-trip summer tickets from Newark to Warsaw are about $500. It could be much easier to catch a cheap domestic US flight to EWR and then on to Warsaw from there.
1 Jun 2010
Life / Electricity bill 1400zlt 5 months. [18]

That is definitley too high. 40m2, gas heating, engery saving bulbs, good about keeping the lights off, etc. I estimate about 300 - 400zl over Jan - May period.

But, if you do a good bit of cooking with an electric cooker you can add a couple hundred zloty to that.

AND, if you have a 3 KW electric heater that you use for 3-4 hours a day you can add 700 - 800zl to that. And if you don't have Tarif II night electricity, well add several hundred more. So in a situation like this you could see 2000zl.

I agree with Ziemowit's advice. Turn off (unplug) everything for 30 minutes and see if the meter keeps moving.

Have you see the actual invoice for the electricity? What was the meter reading at the beginning of January, and what is it now?

And read some of the points on this thread:
27 May 2010
Life / Poland's population predictions [59]

From a bit of Googling:

According to US State Department numbers, from 1999, there were 39,300 US Citizens living in Poland.

According to the 2002 Polish census there were 1,541 "ethnic Americans" living in Poland. Another website, refering to the same 2002 census, puts the total number of US Citizens living in Poland at about 30,000 dual US-Polish citizens, and 1000 US Citizens.

I suppose that there are several ways to interpert this information.
17 May 2010
Food / Powidła - Poland's versatile plum butter [19]

It sounds very similar, in preperation, to what we call apple butter in America. It is popular with the Pennsylvania Dutch.
11 May 2010
Real Estate / Rights To Partners Flat In Poland - Cohabiting Agreement [21]

As a national to Poland she has rights to purchase with a small / no deposit,

- What process is this? I would suggest both names on the notary contract with a 50 / 50 split on the ownership.
7 May 2010
Travel / Travel insurance from Poland to abroad? [4]

I use Hestia for trips to the US. I believe that they do require that you are a resident in Poland to apply, so you may need to show proof of zameldowania.
6 May 2010
Work / Taxes in Poland if working for American company? [12]

If you are earning any money in Poland for any period of time you should be paying tax in Poland, on the income earned in Poland. If you remain in Poland for more than 180 days you will become tax resident, and should pay tax to Poland on your global income.

If you are a US citizen or permanent resident, then all of your global income is taxed by the US. You can offset your US taxes with taxes paid to Poland, and you have a fairly large "Foreign Earned Income Tax Credit". There is a lot more detail to this, and it can get very complicated if you are self-employed as you need to work out your SS contributions and withholding tax. Download IRS Publication 54 -"Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad". Happy Reading!
2 May 2010
Real Estate / Basic building products cheaper in Poland than UK [4]

From this week's Sunday Times:

Okazja! (That's Polish for 'bargain')
How can you save £3,000 or more on tiling your house? Book yourself on the next plane to Warsaw.

Admittedly, it sounded a bit far-fetched. Rebuilding your house with British-based Polish builders is one thing. But actually flying out to Warsaw to source the hardware yourself? Much cheaper, I was assured by Eliza Ganko, my Polish neighbour. What is? Everything. "You can get the same products, but cheaper," she said. "Baths. Basins. Taps. Tiles. Everything but paint. And door handles."
22 Apr 2010
Real Estate / Any recent property reports/studies of Cracow / Krakow property market? [8]

There are a number of recent / fairly recent reports out there:

- Ober Haus - available on their Polish website

- RedNet

- Szybko

The Sybko reports are fairly objective, but are not available in English. I'm not sure how wide their statistical base is. The other 2 reports always include a bit of pro market hype. They are interesting reads, but I'm not sure if there is much neutral value to them.

What information are you looking for?
28 Feb 2010
Real Estate / Options for dealing with dishonest landlord in Poland [36]

Motylek, If you are using electric heating it doesn't surprise me that the sum of the electricity bill for this period exceeds your security deposit. Your landlord may be dishonest, but it may reasonably be the case that you actually used that much electricity.

I am a landlord in Krakow. Most of my tenants are international students and workers. I have gone through the cost and PAIN of installing gas heating / hot water in all of my flats. When I show my flats to prospective Polish tenants it’s the first thing they want to know. Internationals rarely bring it up. When I explain the benefits of gas I can see their eyes glaze over. Nobody wants to hear about 2nd tariff electricity, storage heaters, and 24x7 heating.

Here is a typical scenario in Krakow - A 50m2 flat in an old kamienica, windows aren't the best, tall ceilings, 2nd tariff electricity, an old piec kaflowy (tiled oven) in the corner or piec akumulacyjne (storage heater). Electric heat and hot water. The tenant does a good job of conserving electricity. Summer electric bills of 100zl. Winter electric bills of 500 - 800 zl. With a Jan / Feb like we just had, bills more like 900 - 1200zl or more.

That is a good scenario. In a bad scenario there are no storage heaters, just floor heaters, or the electric panels you can connect to the walls. Or even worse the heaters are not just wired to the 2nd tariff, so you can run heat during the day. In the winter we just had, expect electricity bill to surpass 2000zl / month. Really

With gas it would be 200 - 300 zl.

Maybe this is your situation, maybe it is not. I’ve heard this story in Krakow several times: a few students from southern Europe sharing a flat and presented with a 5000zl bill for a couple of months of electricity. What seemed like a bargain in September has turned into a nightmare. Dishonesty? Are the agents and landlords taking advantage of the tenants’ ignorance about electric heating? Maybe. Possibly. Probably. Or perhaps the landlords believe what is obvious about heating to them is universally obvious, and when the tenant runs up an electricity bill of a few thousand zloty and doesn’t pay, the landlord is being ripped-off. Possibly?

What I do know is that there is endless grief between Polish landlords and non-Polish tenants; dishonest landlords, dishonest tenants, and a lack of common language / understanding. Feel free to send me a PM if you have any specific questions I can help you with. Good Luck
27 Feb 2010
Real Estate / Options for dealing with dishonest landlord in Poland [36]

I think the most important question is the type of heating that your flat had. If you used electric heating then you should expect your winter bills to be several multiples of your summer bills.

If you signed a lease contract for the property then there should have been a related protocol that contained the exact reading of the electricity meter at the time of moving in. If you know this reading and the reading of the meter on your departure then I can probably give you a fair estimate of your total electricity bill for this period.

Although unlikely, it is far from unheard of in Poland for someone to steal your electricity by tapping into the lines.

You refer to him as your “former” landlord. Is the situation that he is not returning your security deposit, or that he is looking for additional money from you now that you have vacated the property?

It is definitley not true that your landlord cannot take you to court over the money. It is probably not worth his time for a few hundred zloty, but well worth his time for a few thousand. It really depends on the particular details of your situation (do you have a lease contract, were the meters read and you countersigned, is he paying his taxes, etc.)

BTW, I am a landlord in Poland, and I have never had a tenant characterize me as dishonest or greedy.

Good luck
14 Feb 2010
Real Estate / Poland flat tax issues - real estate - 10% tax [6]

That is why I suggest that you submit a proposal for a written response from the tax office. There is a process in Poland where an individual can submit a petition to the tax office for a documented answer to a tax question. This wriiten response that you receive from the tax office is legaly binding for your specific case. Even in the event that they give you the wrong answer, as long as you have this documented you are covered.

There is also an anonymous infoline that the tax office has in Warsaw. They are very knowledgeable and will provide you with specific information for your case. The number is 0 801 055 055 or (22) 330 0330.

Good Luck
13 Feb 2010
Real Estate / Poland flat tax issues - real estate - 10% tax [6]

Juche, the answer has not changed since you last raised the question. There will be a 10% tax on the net proceeds of the sale. Not a 10% tax on the net profit of the sale. This is not a capital gains tax, but a sales tax.

To avoid the tax you can wait until 1.1.2012, or there is the option to re-invest the funds into another property within 2 years. In this case you only need to re-invest the equity that you have in the property, not the full debt + equity that is in the property now.

The only answer you can 100% rely on is to petition the tax office in writing (a good accountant can help you with this). You will receive a formal written response from them within a few months
2 Feb 2010
Food / Where can you buy a crockpot aka slow cooker, in Krakow? [38]

Hurrah for crockpots!

Hurrah for "Wolnowar". Enter that word into Allegro

My guess is this: You have never actually used a crockpot, or eaten a pot roast and veggies and gravy made in one, have you? Or had crockpot chili or fondue or hot buttered rum or chicken cacciatore or yogurt or mushroom soup or stuffed chicken, either.

My heart is open to conversion, my schedule is open for eating, I welcome the invitation
8 Dec 2009
USA, Canada / Tracking a package through the Polish Postal system sent from US [57]

Also, does anyone know an average a package takes to get from the US to Poland via USPS Priority International?

Mylesg, in my experience it will take under a week for a package sent from US to Poland to reach Poland. It will then take an additional 3 - 6 weeks to reach you in Poland. Once the package leaves the USPS it enters some mysterious black hole, which I believe to be Polish Customs. Packages sent from within the EU, for example from the UK, will not have this problem and will reach you fairly quickly once they are in Poland.

It is hit or miss with Polish Customs. My typical experience is to get a note from the local post office to collect a package, with no explanation of where the package is from or what the contents are. I arrive at the post office to be handed a Customs invoice for some outrageous price, typically equal to 50 - 100% of the USD value of the package contents. If you don’t pay the fee, you don’t get the package. Always nice to get a $100 gift of clothing from America, that costs the giver $50 to send and cost me 200zl, ($75) to receive. It doesn’t appear to matter what the package contents are, whether it is a gift or not, or what the value of the contents are that you list on the Customs form when sending with USPS.

If the package left the US on November 20th, you could expect to receive it just before Christmas, but you may recall the Polish Postal Service from last Christmas (Sajgon?). I wouldn’t start to worry about the package until mid-January.

On the bright side I have never had a package lost or stolen, and Polish Customs do a wonderful job of re-packing! I once had a package sent from the US, which never arrived and was given up for lost. Four months later it was returned to the sender without explanation (the address was correct). I had another package addressed to my family name, for example “The Smiths”, which the post office did not want to release to me because my first name is not “The”. Another time I actually had a package delivered right to the front door with no issues, followed 2 weeks later by the postman demanding 200zl or he would lose his job.

I ordered friends and family to stop sending gift packages from America long ago. It was too much stress on everyone’s part and was costing me too much to “receive” the gifts.

My advice – If it is an important document, FedEx it. Never a problem and I have received dozens of FedEx’s over the years. If it is a small gift like a shirt or sweater, squeeze it into a USPS Airmail envelope, It will arrive in 2 weeks and for some reason appears to skip the Customs headache.

Good Luck
4 May 2009
Real Estate / Foreigners can now buy houses in Poland [55]

This does not apply to all foreigners, just citizens of the EEA (27 EU + Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein).

It may be possible for a non-EEA national or company to incorporate in an EEA country and purchase property in Poland.
1 Apr 2009
Real Estate / Building a house in Poland need advice from anyone that has built [100]

What's the point of concrete second floors?

Are you serious? And this is mandated?

Does anyone have the answer to Randal's question. Besides some of the obvious benefits like sound and fire proofing, why is this done, and is it mandated by building codes?

I have a 120 yr old house in Poland, single floor, with a massive beautiful loft above me which I would like to convert to living space within the next few years. The existing loft floor is supported by huge wooden beams, which may require some reinforcing, but would certainly be adequate to support a living area. I've had discussions with a few different Polish builders about the conversion process, and the first thing that always comes up is how I will put the concrete floors in. They cannot not get their heads around my "WHY?" question.

We have just had a floor replaced. Wood for concrete.

4 Feb 2009
Law / Poland - Temporary Residence card - Karta pobytu - required documents [141]

When I had my karta pobytu interview he asked if I was OK to conduct it in Polish

What is a karta pobytu interview? I (EU citizen, Polish spouse) have had a karta pobytu for about 18 months now, but I never went through any interview. I had two police officers show up unannounced at the door one day with a few questions, but never any interview.
8 May 2008
Real Estate / Where to look on the internet for Poland Real Estate [112]

Those three flats are errors in the system. The one for 34,000zl is actually on for 340,000zl. The listing for 45,000zl says that the 45k is a deposit to reserve the apartment. The final listing is for an apartment in "Trzebinia", a few hours drive from Krakow.

The cheapest flat that I could find in all of Krakow was a 15m2 (161sqft) basement apartment on ulica Starowiślna with a single 2ft x 1ft window. Price 98,000zl. After civil tax, notary, estate agent that will be 104,000zl.... 24,000 sterling! iasto-starowislna.html?w=764d5dcd84708d9b&s=1
18 Jan 2008
Real Estate / Where to look on the internet for Poland Real Estate [112]

And my 10 grosze.

These are somewhat south Poland, secondary-market specific and mostly in Polish. My feeling is that you need to muddle through the Polish to get a real good idea of what is going on in the market, and to find the true bargains that are out there

In no particular order: – Okay, very few good listings, but their Quarterly Market Reports are a MUST read for any serious investor. Even with the most basic of Polish you can pull out the key sales and rental numbers for your city. They keep a few years of reports online. – most listings of any site, great sorting features to narrow down your searches, and will give you a good idea what is going on in the market. – Fair number of listings country-wide, plus it’s easy for someone with limited Polish to muddle their way through. For some reason it attracts the for-sale-by-owner crowd, which can turn up some real gems. – another good site with for-sale-by-owners. They cover the 6/7 bigger cities in Poland, not just Krakow – poor cousin of Gratka, but worth keeping an eye on – They do some English! The MLS site for Małopolska. A must for any Kraków investor. A lot of listings that you might not find on Gratka – Free market reports in English. Monthly. Free? Yes. Download them.

E&Y – download the Ernst & Young free annual ebooks “Poland The Real State of Real Estate” and “Doing Business in Poland”

Regional Newspapers – Check the on-line listings a few local papers . Dziennik Polska is a good one, a few hundred listings every Wednesday. Here is the Kraków link, but I think they do all of the major cities. Be wary of a lot of bait-and-switch type operators though. One thing that works is to go on the offensive. Post an advert in the paper and define exactly what you are looking for. Like flies on … If you have the stomach to handle a few dozen phone calls you can end up meeting some of the small local agents who are more willing to work for and with you, than you would never find otherwise.

Happy Hunting