A Special Economic Zone (SEZ) – The act of 10th May 2018 amends the instruments of CIT or PIT tax relief, a form of regional public aid. The major difference introduced is that the tax relief is now available across the entire territory of Poland, for companies carrying out new investments, on publicly as well as privately owned properties. However, the currently biding Special Economic Zone (SEZ) permits, already granted to investors within the old SEZs shall remain in force until 2026.
The maximum operating time in the SEZ is 12 years for areas not yet covered by the SEZ status and 15 years in the areas included in the Zone in previous years.
In the Opolskie voivodeship are 2 sub-zones of Special Economic Zones: Wałbrzych and Katowice Special Economic Zone.
If an entrepreneur decides to invest in one of the SEZs, their income from business activities conducted in that area shall be exempt from income tax (CIT — corporate income tax, or PIT — personal income tax, depending on the type of business).
Apart from tax exemptions, entrepreneurs investing in SEZs enjoy the following privileges:
- a plot of land, fully prepared for investment, at a competitive price,
- free assistance in completing the formalities related to the investment,
- exemption from property tax (in some municipalities).
Income tax exemptions granted in SEZs constitute the so-called regional public aid, which serves to accelerate the development of the least-developed regions of the EU by supporting new investments and creating new jobs related to these investments.
Only the income obtained from the business activity carried out as part of the investment covered by the support decision can be granted the relief. Therefore, if an entrepreneur simultaneously carries out activities not subject to support, the activities covered by support should be separated, and the amount of the exemption will be determined on the basis of data (revenues and costs) of the separated activity.
The decision on support is issued due to the implementation of a new investment that meets certain quantitative and qualitative criteria.
- Quantitative criteria (the minimum amount of eligible costs) depend on the unemployment rate in the poviat in which the investment will be implemented (the higher the unemployment rate, the lower the ceiling for the required amount of costs) and the size of the enterprise. Preferences have also been granted to entrepreneurs conducting research and development activities and in the modern business services sector.
- Qualitative criteria are investment compliance with the current national development policy, level of foreign sales, R&D activity, size of the company, belonging to a key cluster, low negative impact on the environment, support in acquiring education, caring for employees, creating good quality jobs, location in cities losing their socio-economic functions (e.g. Brzeg, Kędzierzyn-Koźle, Kluczbork, Krapkowice, Namysłów, Nysa, Prudnik, Strzelce Opolskie and municipalities bordering these cities).
The eligible costs of the new investment, according to the state aid regulations are:
- the cost of purchasing land, the cost of purchasing, extending or modernizing fixed assets (e.g. machinery), the cost of acquiring intangible assets (computer programs, licenses, certificates, etc.), or
- 2 – year labor costs of newly hired employees.
In the Opolskie Voivodeship, entrepreneurs can count on dismissal at the level of:
35% – large companies
45% – medium companies
55% – micro and small companies
Exemptions from property tax
One of the main incentives available for businesses in municipalities is exemption from local taxes and fees. The Act of 12 January 1991 on local taxes and charges (the “Act”) empowers municipal councils to determine the tax rates and the basic exemptions from fees and taxes. Exemption form property tax is of prime importance for entrepreneurs.
Subject of property tax
Property tax applies to:
- buildings or their parts,
- structures or their parts connected with conducting business activities.
Exemption form property tax under the de minimis rule
The municipal council may introduce tax exemption in the form of a resolution which constitutes an aid programme with the use of solutions based on the EU regulations on de minimis aid, whereby the aid is exempt from the notification requirement; however, the draft resolution must be communicated to the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (OCCP).
The basic legal act regulating the de minimis aid is the Commission Regulation (EC) No 1998/2006 of 15 December 2006. On the application of Art. 87 and 88 of the Treaty on de minimis aid (Official Journal of the EU L.06.379.5), which allows this kind of aid to be granted also in the road transport sector.
Ceiling of the de minimis aid
This regulation determines the ceiling of the de minimis aid at the level of 200 thousand euro or 100 thousand euro in the road transport sector for a single economic entity for three consecutive financial years. This aid is calculated by adding the aid obtained in the current year and the two preceding years, where the total cannot exceed 200 thousand euro (100 thousand euro in the road transport sector).
EU funds 2014-2020
The possibility of obtaining funding:
Regional Operational Program of the Opole Voivodeship 2014-2020: http://rpo.ocrg.opolskie.pl/
Operational Program Intelligent Development: https://www.poir.gov.pl/
The Infrastructure and Environment Program: https://www.pois.gov.pl/
National Centre for Research and Development: http://www.ncbir.pl/programy-krajowe/