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Expatriating to Poland... good career move for a young male?


AdrianK9 6 | 369
16 Feb 2016 #1
Hello Everyone,

I first wanted to say that I love this website and was a regular member of it for about 2 years under the username trancespottingp. Unfortunately, I forgot my password which was registered at the email address of my last job which I no longer have access to.

I wanted to ask the communities' advice on the topic of expatriating to Poland. I am at a point in my career where I have a little money saved up, a decent job, a bachelor's degree, and I am planning on furthering my career but want to move abroad. I'm kind of at a point where I can either use my money to get an MBA in the U.S. or move to Poland and start a new life and also do an MBA at a lower cost although typically Polish business schools are not highly regarded outside of Poland. Since my entire family is in Poland and the countries surrounding it, I know that I will eventually move and retire to Poland. So if I did do an MBA in Poland I would most likely stay there afterward. I don't know how US MBA's are regarded in Poland but I'd assume with US corporations they'd be accepted.

I have a Bachelor's degree with a double major in International Business and Marketing. I am fluent in Polish and English and I know Spanish and Russian pretty well too. I also have dual US/Poland citizenship. I've been in sales about 7 years now and that's most likely what I'd continue to do since it seems to pay a bit better than a lot of other careers namely because of a commission. It's very easy for me to get a good paying job in the US but I don't know how it would be in Poland as I hear there is a lot of competition amongst recent grads. By the way, I'm 27. I'm sure that the fact I'm from the US and have a degree from a very reputable US college would help but I still feel I'd face a lot more competition that I do even here.

Anyway, I looked for a job in Poland like a year ago out of curiosity to see what I could get. I was offered 2 positions one with Google in Wroclaw with a salary of $24,000 annually + commission basically selling ad services and the other paying 30,000 Euro a year + commission in Gdansk selling cargo transport services. I was really interested in the position in Gdansk (actually was with a British company) but didn't really have the resources to move to Poland at the time. I think that this would be sufficient for me as a single male with no kids. Now I do have the resources to move and can realistically expatriate to Poland, of course if I felt it was a worthwhile move for my career. I don't expect to make like $100k a year in Poland but I do want to at least have a comfortable lifestyle.

I wanted to ask - what are the popular high paying industries/companies in Poland now? Any people on this forum with experience working in Poland as a salesperson or similar position? Do typically the Western companies pay higher salaries than the Polish ones or is it about equal? Any other experiences you can share with expatriating or working in Poland? Do you think $100k is enough to move to Poland for a single male if you're not buying a house and planning on renting?

Thanks everyone!
Alidk
16 Feb 2016 #2
Go for it! I moved from denmark 10 months and haven't regretted it:)
I have a similar background as you, bachelor in business administration, I'm 26 and work for a western company. Salary wise I get more than you was offered (24000 brutto pr. Month) but I'm able to safe around 10k, and that's even though I eat out everyday and do what I like to do:)

So with the salary offered I don't think that you will need your savings to get by..

Just my 2 cents
Angry Pole
16 Feb 2016 #3
Hi Alidk,
If you wouldn't mind sharing - were you searching for a job on the market or did you just relocate within your company?

Thanks in advance!
Alidk
16 Feb 2016 #4
Hi,

They advertised the job both in Denmark and Poland, and I found it through a Danish site.. I know my company normally use hays when we are looking for polish candidates..
AngryPole
17 Feb 2016 #5
The reason why I'm asking is that the salary is completely unrealistic by Polish standards, even the top management rarely earns that much. So I was wandering - could someone in Poland potentially have been recruited for this job from Poland? Or was it rather intercompany transfer from Denmark to Poland while preserving Danish salary?

Thanks
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,161
17 Feb 2016 #6
The reason why I'm asking is that the salary is completely unrealistic by Polish standards

For Polish people you should add :)) Just another "beauty" of selling most of the economy to foreigners.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455
17 Feb 2016 #7
So I was wandering - could someone in Poland potentially have been recruited for this job from Poland?

Not that unrealistic. It's only the average wage in Denmark, and companies will pay well to show their Danish clients that they employ real Danes. It's still cheap for them compared to the cost of hiring someone in a Danish city.
OP AdrianK9 6 | 369
17 Feb 2016 #8
My cousins and family in Poland told me that both of those jobs offered me a generous compensation package. They stated that most families with two working adults survive on far less. It boggles my mind because many things like clothes, cars, gas, real estate, etc. are the same price as in Chicago yet people make substantially less. I really don't know how people in Poland manage to do it. I wouldn't go to Poland to make my millions nor grow my savings account. If I were going to expatriate to a country to do that I'd chose a wealthy Arab country or even Kazakhstan which is paying $80,000 annually for native English teachers now (10% income tax) to teach at their one of their dozen or so schools for the 'elite' of the country. I did some research and it seems like living in Poland may be more realistic for retirement than at a young age. I think a young adult would be better off even in Germany or even Czech Rep. if they want to save some money. Of course there are exceptions.

I was in Poland a few months ago because well, long story short, a construction company illegally dug an enormous hole on our property and was filling it with rubble. We have 1.3 Ha outside of Wroclaw and some company was hired by the city to do some work on canals or something with the Odra river but instead of properly disposed of the waste the people tore up our entire property. We had like 100+ apple trees on the property and the land value was worth quite a bit of money. It's more the sentimental value though because that was my grandma's house from my mom's side, would've been my parents' house for retirement, and then eventually mine. That house survived WW2 but some company managed to destroy it in 3 months. Now the land is a giant hole with rubble everywhere - it literally looks like a SCUD or something landed on our yard. So yeah, I was there to start a very long and tedious battle against the construction company. I may add also, if you ever are in a legal dispute hire a private investigator and a good lawyer (lots of young lawyer in Poland - but oftentimes their ambition makes up for their inexperience) because the PL cops at least in my experience with this are very lazy.

Anyway, while I was there I saw new German cars and even Harley motorcycles as well as Starbucks, Armani stores, etc. Although, I may add while these stores were full it looked like most people were window shopping as few actually had bags with purchases. I bought a pair of shoes for like 300 zloty which is about $75 which isn't too bad but for an average Pole that's a lot of money. However, even like with the cars I just don't understand how someone could afford a $20,000 VW Golf let alone even $70k BMW/Mercedes if most people are living on $1k-$2k a month. I wondered if a lot of these people work abroad or have like their main bread winner working abroad because their lifestyle just didn't justify what the incomes tend to be in Poland.

Top execs, politicians, and the top 5% seem to make like 15k-25k+ zloty a month. I read that the PM gets paid like 20k or 25k Zloty a month - that's like 5k-6k USD since the dollar is strong and zloty is weak at the moment.
Alidk - | 1
18 Feb 2016 #9
It's not that uncommon that people have the salary at my level.. Remember there is someone that has to drag the average salary up when the minimum wage is 1950.

I was hired based on my skills, the salary was at the same level as I got in Denmark for my previous job, but the money I'm able to safe is in whole different league.. I wasn't in a company that's is related to where I am now but actually at the competition:)

You get the salary you deserve, so have some result in your baggage that can help pump it up.. I will guess that a polish candidate will have gotten 15+ as a starting salary for my job.. Which is in fact a nice salary here:)

And for the comment of selling the polish economy to foreigners, sorry to say that is just not a intelligent comment.. I'm sure that the money I pay in tax and the money I put in the economy is better than nothing. So in a global world you will never be able to prevent this.. And especially as a pole it's basically something you shouldn't say out loud.. If I had to choose 1 nation that has benefitted from the ability to work in a foreign country and earn a decent salary then it's Poland, just to mention a few countries who has been over flooded with poles uk+Ireland and Scandinavia!
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455
18 Feb 2016 #10
However, even like with the cars I just don't understand how someone could afford a $20,000 VW Golf let alone even $70k BMW/Mercedes if most people are living on $1k-$2k a month.

You don't understand it because you aren't living here. Needless to say, Poles often don't tell the truth about their salaries and sources of income. I know one guy who claims to be very poor because he only earns 3k a month netto. It's true. He just doesn't mention the fact that the German owner of the company has no clue that he's actually running a business from his dayjob, and that business provides him with a substantial income. He uses the real job's infrastructure - offices, storage, company car, etc - and as he's the CEO, no-one is questioning him locally.
OP AdrianK9 6 | 369
18 Feb 2016 #11
And for the comment of selling the polish economy to foreigners, sorry to say that is just not a intelligent comment.. I'm sure that the money I pay in tax and the money I put in the economy is better than nothing. So in a global world you will never be able to prevent this.. And especially as a pole it's basically something you shouldn't say out loud..

A lot of Polish people think this because oftentimes it appears that the politicians, especially in the previous government, seemed to be more concerned with satisfying foreign investors than the local population. However, that is the effect of globalization. If Poland didn't open up their economies at all we'd be in a situation like Cuba or North Korea.

The foreign companies come to Poland because of the abundant highly educated, highly skilled labor force where the wages are relatively low compared to say Germany, France, England, etc. It's both a blessing and a curse.

The economy is very strong in Poland - that's a fact. However, a lot of average people state that despite the overall economic situation being much better, their own situations are not improving. Again, it has to do with labor costs.

And delphiandomine you're right a lot of people do 'moonlight' like that and I think it has to do with the old communist mentality. Also, Polish people are very good at saving money and not living beyond their means. They do small things that add up like paint their own house, use public transport, etc. I don't currently live in Poland but my entire family (aside from mom and dad) do and I visit Poland regularly. If I found a job where I could make at least like $35k-$40k a year I'd move right away. However, I feel that this may be unrealistic for say a sales manager or med device/pharma salesman.
polishinvestor 1 | 362
18 Feb 2016 #12
I tell people its difficult, although not impossible, to make something of ones self working for someone else. If you are working for a small local Polish company, very difficult. If working for a large or foreign owned company which obeys labour and pay laws, then you can achieve the things most dream about. Owning a home, a car, a couple of holidays each year, that sort of thing. Of course working for ones self is the road to the best results but isnt always possible for everyone for a number of reasons.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455
18 Feb 2016 #13
However, I feel that this may be unrealistic for say a sales manager or med device/pharma salesman.

It's quite realistic if you're good enough. If you really are the bomb at sales - then contact Netguru in Poznań. They have a reputation for paying very, very high salaries for people that can get the job done. By high, I'm speaking $4k USD a month and up.
OP AdrianK9 6 | 369
18 Feb 2016 #14
Thanks Delphi I will check it out for sure.

I do know for a fact that some small business owners have become very financially successful. I have two family members that run small businesses and are wealthy even by western standards. Although I would love to open a small business, even like a deli or convenience store or something, it would be much more realistic to do in the US than in Poland. For Poland, I'd want to first learn the business laws and bureaucracy before investing in something like that.
Pol attorney 2 | 106
18 Feb 2016 #15
And especially as a pole it's basically something you shouldn't say out loud..

Complete nonsense and BS! if the wesst and usa didn't rip off Poles and Poland right and left since 1945 (or better yet since 1772), Poland would be right now one of the wealthiest nations in Europe... who attacked and robbed Poles in 1655?
TheOther 6 | 3,692
18 Feb 2016 #16
Poland would be right now one of the wealthiest nations in Europe

How do you know?
porky pok 2 | 127
18 Feb 2016 #17
Although I would love to open a small business

It is a great idea,as Poland has so many apportunities which are unexploited.Many of my friends are thriving and making over 4/500k $ PY in small businesses.As in western countries there is competition and ideas from all over the world and is getting saturated,whereas in Poland those areas are still unexploited and Locals are not aware of that.
OP AdrianK9 6 | 369
18 Feb 2016 #18
Pol Attorney - yes Poland has been backstabbed and sold out many times throughout history. Even worse, many times it has been by its own government. I do see where you are coming from though and I do agree but I just didn't want to stir up a storm here. It is sad that a country with a GDP of $1 trillion and ranking in 20/21st place in terms of GDP has such low wages when compared to Western Countries.

As far as the small businesses, I believe it - my grandparents from my dads side own a few small business and are wealthy even by western standards. They're definetely $1mil USD in net worth but yet some of the cheapest, most frugal people you'll ever meet. They have a metal fabrication shop, a deli/small food store, and a stall in the 'targ' that sells meats, sausages, etc. Basically the targ is like a big open air bazaar where people sell clothes, food, home items, etc. You can find great things for a fraction of the price compared to a retail store in the city center. A lot of the money they made was actually back in Communism when meat was considered a luxury and was rationed out. My uncle on the hand from my mom's family owns a fairly large hotel by Polish standards in Tychy called Hotel Piramida which is I believe 9 stories and it looks like a big glass pyramid, hence it's name. The rest of my family is pretty average though.

Unfortunately, I have only about $80k in savings so although I would perhaps have enough to rent a space, buy some inventory, hire some staff, etc. I feel it would be very risky to go into a country where although I know the language I know next to nothing about the business laws. I'm kind of at the point where I'm debating whether to go the mundane route and do an MBA in the US or finally do something I want and go to Poland. I wouldn't plan on like spending it and I'd still work but I'd want to at least keep it saved up in case things don't work out, I get fired, or whatever else may happen. Once I understood the business climate and laws, I would be willing to invest in a small business venture but I think think it would be too risky at this point. I think it would be much safer at least in my position to first get a job and feel out the situation and identify a need in the market. One of my good friends in the US who is jeweler makes a nice supplemental income purchasing Rolex's from pawn shops and craigslist in the US and reselling them to Poland. He also sends a lot of shoes especially Nike's, Jordan's, Adidas, etc. He actually makes a couple grand a month doing this and oftentimes he can't find enough Rolex's here at a good price to resell. I have noticed that many products and services popular in the US have started popping up in Poland - micro breweries, liquor stores selling tequila, scotch, and other imports, internet advertising and marketing firms, Harley motorcycles, internet auction sites, concert promoters, etc. I'd probably go the more traditional and safer route and just open up a kiosk with some cigarrettes and beer or a little convenience store near a university though.
porky pok 2 | 127
18 Feb 2016 #19
You dont need to be by the university though,lost of apportunities I see exist in Poland since there are cluster of high rise buildings,unlike in states where to have 200 families living in houses occupy way larger area.I did the c store business for 25 years in the states and amazing what money it is in it.Poland now is also on the same path.You know I see kiosks in malls selling only lottery and I checked a bit into it and people make almost same money in Zlotays as in $ in states or more.Average lotto machine yields around 35 to 125K zlotay a year in Poland the same in $ in states which some c stores owners dont even care to keep in there stores in Poland saying its small money.Labour is cheap so one can even make better in poland if its done right.

Plus opening a store by university is a bad idea as most students are very money savy its best to open by a residential high rise building instead.
OP AdrianK9 6 | 369
19 Feb 2016 #20
Yes there are still a ton of those old 'bloki' left - good suggestion!! I have looked into opening up a c store in the states and it can be very profitable especially if you have a liquor license. Those can be a bit tricky to obtain for a new business, at least in and around Chicago, but I was looking more into purchasing an existing location and remodeling it myself (My father is a contractor and he taught me carpentry, electricity, plumbing, etc. since a young age).

Everything adds up in a c store - the atm machine, cigarettes, alcohol, lottery, and of course the highest profits (at least here) from the chips, sodas, coffees, etc.

I don't think I'd be able to purchase much with $80k-$100k BUT perhaps doing a lease, $20k or so in inventory, 1 part time person to help out... that would be more realistic.

It may sound stupid because like when people say in terms of business dreams like oh I want to make a successful tech start-up, I want to open a fine French restaurant, whatever. Me? I'm more simple.. as lame as it sounds my dream is to open up a convenience store and then if the cash flow is good from it perhaps another location or even a gas station.

One thing that really surprised me is when I went to college in Cincinnati they had a ton of like 'drive thru' convenience stores. So basically, you stay in your car, tell the attendant what you want, he loads it up in a bag, you pay, and leave. You never get out of your car. I've only seen one of those here in Chicago. Although novel, I don't think that would work in Poland as walking and using public transport is much more common.

If you don't mind me asking, what part of Poland did you run this type of business? Was it in the city, suburbs, or more rural area? I'd primarily be looking in Wroclaw as that's the city I am most familiar with. The c store that my grandma ran was mostly like a deli - meats, cheeses, etc. but they also had like basic soft drinks like Pepsi. It was very successful because it was really the only store of it's kind in the area. They live in Oborniki Slaskie which is about 45 mins or so outside of Wroclaw and has about 20k or so inhabitants.

I'll never forget one of the times I was Poland and bought like a small glass bottle of Coke. I started walking out with it and the lady stops me she's like no you have to drink it here! I'm like well that's crazy I want to drink it at home or in my car. She couldn't believe I'd be willing to pay the 5, 10 groszy or whatever it was for the convenience of taking it with me instead of standing in the store and drinking it. Ah the culture differences...
porky pok 2 | 127
19 Feb 2016 #21
No i never ran that type of business in Poland but did help some friends start it,my experience is only in states.I dont know Chicago but in Nj you can usually buy an existing Liq license only and new ones are auctioned off and usually bought by TGIF,Applebees etc and depending on town can sell for over cpl mil$.I also have exp in bar and liq store but now im out of all that,but I see lots of apportunities in Poland everywhere.Also it dont cost much to open one provided you can get liq license and lotto license.In poland they still not doing it the right way eg covering the windows,dim yellow lights and high ceiling shelves,no proper displays etc.ATM is huge money in states but in Poland I heard is regulated and not privatised.Also like selling ice or icecream in winter is a no no in Poland as they think it will not sell.I remember once I asked a restaurant by me for ice and the guy laughingly told me to pick up from the street as it was snowing.

I havent been to Wroclaw over years now but as in Poland there are still so many apportunities.I know couple stores doing over 2/3 mil PLN gross a year and run pathetically.with 80K$ you can start a good business if you choose right location and merchandise in Poland ,in states you will need over 250k.I see the same trend coming to Poland as well very quickly.

If you have any questions PM me I will be glad to help if I can.
OP AdrianK9 6 | 369
19 Feb 2016 #22
Yes here the application is $25,000 for a liquor license here. I did see one liquor store for sale in a suburb outside of Chicago (Round Lake) for $120k with about $15k of inventory included. The location wasn't the best but it didn't really have much competition in the surrounding area.

I will go back to Poland this summer so I'll look a bit more into it. Real estate is very expensive in Wroclaw as well as the other major cities in Poland so I'd probably have to rent if I did something like that.

I have considered also opening up like an import/export business as I have noticed a lot of western goods we have in Poland are in very high demand but the prices are even higher than in the US. Electronics, iphones, ipads, luxury watches, etc. On the other hand, I have noticed that leather and sheepskin is very high quality in Poland and popular in the US but very expensive if you want something quality and even then it's often hard to find. My friend Mark gave me the idea since like I wrote earlier he makes a decent passive income (about $2k a month) sending Rolexes and basketball shoes to Poland. This would be a great online business and I wouldn't necessarily need a brick and mortar location but I don't think that websites like ebay, craigslist, etc. are as widely used in Poland as they are in the US. That would really be the main limiting factor. I could be wrong though.
polishinvestor 1 | 362
19 Feb 2016 #23
Real estate in Poland isnt that expensive compared to rest of Europe. Places like Wroclaw are much cheaper than Warsaw, but you still have the benefit of a 1 million plus footfall if you include all tourism and through traffic. And because people have been afraid about the Putin effect and the new government, yields of 10% are common even for properties in good locations. You might fall to 7-8% if you want the very best, but still its a mighty return with good prospect of capital growth. For about the last 5 or 6 years, Poland has lagged a bit and it will be rerated in the next 5 to 10 years, so now is a good time to buy. Unless you have a passion for it day to day running is possibly too time consuming and you can maximise your "time" capital better elsewhere.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455
19 Feb 2016 #24
I have considered also opening up like an import/export business as I have noticed a lot of western goods we have in Poland are in very high demand but the prices are even higher than in the US.

You'll never manage to sell those goods cheaper than Polish retailers. For a start, you can't just import those goods into Europe - you need to have the permission of the brand owner first. If you try to do it without evidence of having permission, the goods will be held by Customs until you demonstrate that you have permission to import them.

Take for instance the iPad. Let's look at the 16GB wifi iPad mini. It's $238.95 on Amazon.com right now, which is 943.51PLN. The same thing is on sale online in Poland for 1249PLN, or $316.19. A significant saving in the US, right?

Now... add 23% (Polish VAT) to the price of the iPad. That gives us 1160.52PLN. That means the margin is a mere 88.48zł on every iPad sold, or 7.08%. That's before we think about shipping expenses, labour expenses and more. Do you think you can do better than the existing Polish retailers?

Now, let's say you want to send them straight from the US rather than importing them yourself. That means you have the same margin, but your customers will face paying handling fees for Customs too. That means your prices need to be lower than Amazon to make it worth ordering from you - can you supply the goods cheaper than them? Probably not. What about returns?
OP AdrianK9 6 | 369
19 Feb 2016 #25
It was just a thought. If I were to go into something like that I would use ebay or craigslist to avoid taxes. I also wouldn't like have a ton of advertising and stuff to keep a low profile. More of just like a small online presence on perhaps the PL equivalent of Craigslist, a stall in the bazaar, and perhaps a newspaper ad advertising cheap electronics. I do know that when my friend Mark ships items, again mainly Rolex watches and basketball shoes, he's never had a problem. However, he ships it to friends and family who then meet the buyers for him.

Like say the IPad example. I purchase say 10 on Amazon for $2,400. I sent them to Poland (costs about $2.50 a pound with the shipping company we use) so maybe $100 or so or about $10 a machine (I'm guessing the Ipad probably doesn't weigh more than 4 pounds each). If the going rate is $316 plus tax, I don't think I'd have trouble selling them for even $300 with no tax in the bazaar or online. I could make about $40-$50 per Ipad sold and with 10 Ipads that is $400-$500. Of course this is a very basic napkin calculate but I do think it would work. I wouldn't have like a storefront reselling this stuff. If I did go that route, I'd do like a pawnshop which could be a novel idea as I have never seen one in Poland yet.

With the Rolex example with my friend Mark he purchases used Rolex Submariners most commonly for anywhere from as low as $2,000 to $3,500 - depending on the color, materials, age, condition, etc. He has a lot of contacts with pawn shops (especially in rural Indiana) that's why he's able to get these kind of prices. Usually he pays $2.5k for a standard stainless steel men's submariner with a black dial give or take a few hundred although every so often he'll get lucky and get it for $2k. Anyway, he will ship it to Poland with insurance and will sell them for $3,500 to $4,000 which is still a great deal considering Rolexes are much rarer in Poland, as expensive in the US, and it is hard to find a quality pre-owned/used one for a decent price. It is more difficult for him to meet demand than anything else. He will profit anywhere from $500 to as high as $1,500 per watch and usually ships like 2, 3, or 4 in a month. I don't think he's ever shipped more than 6 in a single month. He profits a bit over $2k a month with this. Not bad for a few hours of work on Saturdays.

He has recently gotten into shoes - Jordan's, Nike's, Converse, etc. He just started doing this about a year ago but he sees about $20 to $50 profit per paid and ships around 6-10 pairs a month.

However, you are correct - having a store front and redistributing US items would not be worthwhile as the taxes, custom fees, and all that would not be worth it. A stall in the targ selling Ipads, laptops, etc. at US prices with no tax would be viable though. One of the first millionaires in Russia after the fall of communism actually made his money by importing used computers from the US and reselling them. He couldn't believe how many Russians were willing to fork out like $2k for a used computer. He amassed a net worth of over $100 mil by doing this.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455
19 Feb 2016 #26
I'm not sure you really understand how import taxes work. You need to pay VAT when importing the goods. That means the goods won't be released in the EU fiscal territory without VAT being paid.

I do know that when my friend Mark ships items, again mainly Rolex watches and basketball shoes, he's never had a problem.

I find it hard to believe that Rolex watches are getting into the EU without being stopped. Basketball shoes - sure. But Customs are very hot on small, high value items - and unless he's stupid enough to send the watches without declaring the real value, he would almost certainly be paying import taxes too. It's possible that he's making a profit after all that, but I suspect he's rather inflating the real returns.

Of course this is a very basic napkin calculate but I do think it would work

Your calculations are completely wrong. I'll take your word for the shipping price, so that's $250. You need to add 23% VAT on import (there are no import taxes, just VAT, and VAT is payable on the total transaction) - so that's $307.50. Retail price in Poland (all prices here automatically include VAT) is 1249PLN, which is $317.63. That leaves you with a profit of $10.13 - before you take into account the risks with currency exchange. Now you've got to pay for the stall, and how many people at the average bazaar are going to buy electronic goods?

Furthermore, the tax office has been making a concentrated effort to go after those selling goods without receipts. Furthermore, the warranty wouldn't be valid in the EU, while the online store offers a 2 year warranty. Who is going to buy from you?

I can't be totally certain, but I think the Amazon.com prices are before state taxes as well, aren't they?

A stall in the targ selling Ipads, laptops, etc. at US prices with no tax would be viable though.

You wouldn't be able to sell at US prices because of import VAT rates.
OP AdrianK9 6 | 369
19 Feb 2016 #27
I don't think you would have to pay an import tax if you're claiming to send 'gifts' to family/friends through the mail. I could be wrong. I'm sure it's different if you're a business and importing products as part of inventory but I don't think the same laws apply if you're a private person shipping a small amount of goods to another private person. I could be wrong though.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455
19 Feb 2016 #28
You're very wrong. In general, goods valued at under 22 Euro may be imported free of all taxes, while goods valued at under 150 Euro may be imported free of import tax (but VAT is still applied). If you try and 'gift' something, the VAT limit is 45 Euro rather than 22 Euro. However, Customs may well open the gift to check that it genuinely is a gift rather than something being sent commercially.

Just some mathematics :

Bear in mind that for private buyers, the iPad that you wish to sell for $307.50 comes to 1207.68PLN. OK, so they can save 41PLN by ordering from you. Buuut...they also need to pay a handling fee of 20.50PLN to Poczta Polska for handling the Customs fees on import. That means you're now only 20.50PLN cheaper, or basically 5 dollars profit per iPad sold.

Still think it's a good business?
OP AdrianK9 6 | 369
19 Feb 2016 #29
Also, I don't do much shopping but whenever I bought items off ebay (granted far and few - like maybe 10 items purchased total off ebay in my life) I've never had to pay any tax - only shipping if it wasn't included in the price already. I'm just hesitant to give out credit card numbers on the computer or the phone. I did see on the news like a year ago that there was some sort of law that was suppose to get passed to get people to pay taxes on ebay though. I haven't made any purchases online since like September of last year and I don't recall paying taxes on that item. That's also why I purchase cars off Craigslist because it saves quite a bit of money as opposed to paying taxes at the dealership. I'm pretty handy with cars though so I know when I'm getting a bargain or not and if the car is going to be reliable or a lemon.

I don't know exactly how VAT and import taxes would apply in this case but I'll have to ask him. This is what I do know though: These items that are being sent are in small quantities and through the mail. It's not like he has a giant container that he loads on the docks onto a barge or something like most consumer goods where they are checked by a custom's officer. There is no formal company selling/shipping these goods - it is a private individual shipping to another individual. I do know the way that he does it more or less. He has a mix of customers - some that are brokers, dealers, jewelry store owners, etc. and some that are simply buying it for themselves or for another as a gift. He will ship the item usually through Polamer. A lot of people use Polamer to send clothes and gifts as it is customary when visiting family and friends in Poland to brings gifts from the US. Most people ship the items instead of putting them in the luggage as it is oftentimes cheaper to ship than pay the Lot fees for extra luggage. Last time I flew, Lot tried to charge me like $180 for being 8kg overweight. Anyway, Mark usually ships to his friend from high school, guy named Darek usually 1 watch at a time. Now he's at the point where he has quite a bit of customers but before he would do word of mouth advertising, call up jewelry stores that purchase jewelry as well, etc. They buyer in Poland will contact my friend Mark and Mark will let them know what he has on stock, what he can get, the costs, etc. Mark will then give the customer's information to his friend Darek. Once Darek has received the package, he will meet with the customer and sell the item. Darek will then paypal the money back to Mark, put it onto a reloadable Visa, or send a traveler's check, etc. I will see Mark over the weekend so I'll ask him more detail though about the shipping but to my understanding when we spoke about this he just ships it like a normal package as if he were sending his friend a gift through Polamer. I may add that his most common item is the men's Rolex Submariner and he's been a jeweler for 25+ years and can spot the difference between a real Rolex and a fake. Even some of the highest quality replicas that cost well over $1k will have even the same exact movement inside the watch and everything BUT even those replicas are unable to duplicate the movement of the bezel. A real Rolex's bezel has I believe 120 different positions and that is the one part of the watch even the most professional replica makers are unable to master.

Trade, barter, and bazaars have been in Poland's history for ages. Even during Communism, many guys would make their living exchanging Zlotys for US Dollars and Deutsche Marks. My family ran a meat business and would often trade meat for cash or Levi's Jeans, western movies and music, Marlboro cigarretes, or any other items that were rare for that time period. It was a common practice and very rarely did the Police or any tax officials bother people about it even though it was technically illegal. It would be very difficult for the tax authorities to clamp down on all the people selling hand picked blueberries on the side of the highway, the guy selling cd's on the corner, the caricature painters in the city square, and like 75% of the people in the bazaar. Also, I may add that in the bazaars all sorts of items are sold from cheap foods like potatoes all the way to clothes (I've always wondered if the Adidas, Nike, etc. is legit or a knockoff because it looks dead on but it so much cheaper than the prices in the retail stores) to cell phones to German car parts and rims and everything in between. Perhaps a 65' OLED TV would be harder to sell but an Ipad or cheaper laptop not so much. Electronics are sold there but mostly audio equipment, DVD players, etc. from my experience.

And no, lol it was just a thought - something I was considering because a good friend of mine has been doing it for sometime. I will have to research it a bit more to see how he does it exactly and how he deals with import taxes, vat, and all that other stuff...

By the way, is import tax the same thing as 'clo' or is clo just a regular tax? I do see 'VAT' a lot of times on the cars and such like those imported from Germany. They'll have like the sticker price and then say 'PLUS VAT' under it. I can't say that I've seen it at like department stores for foods, clothes, electronics, etc. which I'm assuming much are imported unless the VAT is already calculated into that price or it's added when you go to the register.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455
20 Feb 2016 #30
Also, I don't do much shopping but whenever I bought items off ebay (granted far and few - like maybe 10 items purchased total off ebay in my life) I've never had to pay any tax - only shipping if it wasn't included in the price already.

That's because the goods aren't crossing a fiscal border. If you export to the EU, the shipper (or receiver) needs to pay VAT on the sales price as well as any import taxes owed.

What your friend is doing is hoping that it gets through. If he does, he gains. If he doesn't, he'll be taking the 23% hit plus whatever the import tax is on watches (no idea).

It would be very difficult for the tax authorities to clamp down on all the people selling hand picked blueberries on the side of the highway, the guy selling cd's on the corner, the caricature painters in the city square, and like 75% of the people in the bazaar.

They already are. There were quite a few cases last year of people making test purchases, then when they failed to provide a receipt, the seller was busted for tax evasion. There's even a campaign at the minute to encourage people to ask for receipts.

By the way, is import tax the same thing as 'clo' or is clo just a regular tax?

Cło is import taxes, while are different to VAT.


Home / Work / Expatriating to Poland... good career move for a young male?
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