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Plans to shift the responsibility for unpaid VAT to the buyer


The Ministry of Finance plans to amend the VAT Act. As from 1 July 2013, buyers of so-called “sensitive goods” would incur joint and several liability with the seller for a failure to pay VAT or VAT underrating. The list of “sensitive goods” was defined in the draft of the new Appendix no. 13 to the VAT Act. It includes various steel products and fuel. According to the explanations of the Ministry of Finance, misuses in trading such products are frequent due to so-called carousel transactions. Entities, which purchase “sensitive goods” at prices, which deviate from market prices without justification would be liable for the tax unpaid by supplier of goods, also if such buyer is not consciously participating in the “carousel”.

In addition, the draft amendment provides for excluding the possibility of quarterly VAT settlements by entities trading in “sensitive goods”. Such suppliers would have to declare VAT for monthly periods if the net value of sales of “sensitive goods” exceeds PLN 10,000 during the given month.

A buyer of “sensitive goods” would therefore have to analyse the delivery circumstances, in particular the relation of the determined fee to market prices. If delivery circumstances are “special”, then the buyer would incur joint and several liability with the seller for the seller’s tax arrears resulting from this transaction.

Examples of “sensitive goods” according to the draft amendment: petrol, diesel oil, unprocessed gold, flat rolled products, hot rolled rods, other steel products.