Special Economic Zones (SEZ) offer a number of facilities and tax preferences for enterprises operating in their area. What tax benefits can the companies operating within them count on?
What are SEZ?
The concept of SEZ was introduced by the Polish Act of October 20, 1994 on special economic zones. These are areas administratively separated in which business activity is carried out on preferential terms. There are currently 14 such zones in Poland. They were established to support the development of specific areas of economic activity, create new technologies, promote exports and create new jobs. Both Polish and foreign entrepreneurs can operate on them.
For an enterprise to operate in the SEZ, it must first obtain a permit issued by the zone manager acting on behalf of the minister competent for the economy. The permit specifies, inter alia, the subject of activity, the minimum level of employment and the minimum level of investment expenditure. The permit may be issued on the basis of e.g. an investment project planned for implementation in the zone. Obtaining the exemption is also connected with the need to meet certain additional requirements regarding the minimum investment value (€ 100,000) and the duration of the investment (3 years).
Benefits in income taxes
The regulations provide for an exemption from income tax in relation to the income generated from economic activity conducted in the zone.
The amount of income subject to the exemption depends on the investment expenditure incurred in the zone, the location of this zone, the size of the enterprise, as well as the number of new employees. The limit is calculated by multiplying two elements:
- eligible expenditures
- the aid intensity indicator
Eligible expenses may be either investment expenditure (e.g. purchase of fixed assets or intangible assets) or two-year labor costs of newly hired employees, i.e. employed after obtaining a dismissal, but no later than 3 years after the end of the investment. In turn, the aid intensity indicator is a fixed percentage assigned to a given region of Poland on the basis of the criterion of investment attractiveness. It ranges between 10 and 50 percent.
Real estate tax exemption
Activities in the SEZ also allow the use of property tax exemption. The exemption is granted to entrepreneurs who have received a permit to operate in the SEZ. It applies to land, constructions and buildings which are occupied for conducting business activities within the zone during the period of validity of the said permit.
By Tomasz Piejak & Wojciech Jaranowski