On 16 June this year, the Decree of the Minister of Health of 14 June 2023 on the cancellation of the state of epidemic emergency in Poland came into force. It specifies that, as of 1 July this year, the state of epidemic emergency in connection with SARS-CoV-2 infections is cancelled. This long-awaited act means the return of a number of reporting obligations for entrepreneurs, many rules in force before the pandemic, and the start of regulations suspended during the period of the fight against the Covid-19 virus.
The aforementioned changes are due to the fact that the state of epidemic emergency was largely referred to by the so-called “special anti-Covid acts”, i.e. the Act of 2 March 2020 on special solutions related to the prevention, prevention and combating of Covid-19, other infectious diseases and emergencies caused by them (hereinafter: the Covid Act) and the Act on special support instruments in connection with the spread of the SARS-COV-2 virus (hereinafter: the Sars Act). These suspended or postponed many reporting and administrative obligations and suspended the running of regulations for operators for the duration of the epidemic emergency. Once it is revoked, the suspended regulations become applicable again.
Certificates of tax residence
During the state of epidemic emergency, the following rules applied to certificates of tax residence in connection with transactions with non-residents:
- in the case of a certificate of residence that does not contain a period of validity for which a period of twelve consecutive months expires during the state of epidemic emergency or a state of epidemics declared in connection with COVID-19, the remitter shall take the certificate into account in the collection of tax for the period during which these states are in force and for a period of 2 months after their revocation;
- during the duration of state of epidemic emergency or a state of epidemics declared in relation to COVID-19, and for a further period of 2 months after their revocation, the taxpayer’s residence and domicile for tax purposes may be confirmed by a copy of the certificate of residence if the information from the submitted copy of the certificate of residence does not give rise to reasonable doubt as to the accuracy of the facts;
- during the state of epidemic emergency or a state of epidemics declared in connection with COVID-19, as well as for a further 2 months after their revocation, the condition that the payer obtains a certificate of residence from the taxpayer is also deemed to be fulfilled if the payer has a certificate of residence from that taxpayer covering 2019 or 2020 and a statement from the taxpayer as to the validity of the data contained therein.
Points 1 and 3 cease to be valid as of 1 September this year and the general provisions are to be applied to the extent discussed therein. In other words, a certificate of tax residence according to which the taxpayer’s place of residence for tax purposes has been documented with no period of validity, the remitter shall take this certificate into account when collecting tax for a period of twelve consecutive months from the date of issue.
As regards point 2 on the possibility to use copies of certificates of tax residence under certain conditions, it should be pointed out that this regulation was introduced directly into the tax laws, thus, the end of the pandemic period will not affect this entitlement.
Legal basis: article 31ya of the Covid Act
Tax schemes return
Under the Covid Act, the need to report domestic (i.e. non cross-border) tax schemes has been suspended until the 30th day following the end of the pandemic period. Thus, as a result of the revocation of the state of epidemic emergency, the suspension of the reporting deadlines for domestic tax schemes will cease to apply from 1 July this year.
What obligations should be borne in mind? The deadline for reporting a tax scheme will last until 30 August this year for domestic tax schemes implemented during the state of emergency:
- MDR-1 – for the intermediary as adviser (called in Polish legislation promoter) or user;
- MDR-2 – for the intermediary who supports as e.g. bank (called in Polish supporter);
- MRD-3 – for a tax scheme from which tax benefits are derived for the user. In this situation, it is theoretically possible that MDR-3 filings will need to be made for up to three years 2020, 2021 and 2023;
- MDR-4 – for the promoter in connection with the re-release of the standardised scheme.
As an aside, mention should also be made of the situation where the obligation to report the tax scheme arose before the pandemic period, but its deadline passed during the pandemic period, i.e. after 31 March 2020. In such a situation, the obligation to comply with the obligation to report the tax scheme is the number of days left to comply with it before the suspension of the deadlines.
Legal basis: article 31y of the Covid Act
Transfer to an account outside the “white list”
During the period of the state of epidemic emergency, the deadline for filing a notice regarding the payment to a bank account not on the White List has been extended to 14 days from the date of the transfer order.
Once the state is revoked, the 7-day deadline will again apply.
Legal basis: Article 15zzn of the Covid Act
The “fiction of delivery” is back
During the state of epidemic emergency, a regulation was introduced stating that uncollected letters subject to delivery against acknowledgement of receipt by the postal operator, whose date of receipt specified in the notice of leaving the letter with information on the possibility of its receipt fell during the epidemic emergency or epidemic state, cannot be deemed to have been delivered during the epidemic emergency or epidemic state and before the expiry of 14 days from the day on which these states were lifted.
The end of the state of epidemic emergency reintroduces the previously existing presumption of service of a twice-notified letter. Thus, as of 1 July this year, the presumption of service of letters sent by traditional mail after they have been advised twice will once again apply.
Legal basis: Article 98 of the Sars Act
Cease of leave without employee consent
The Covid Act introduced a privilege for employers who had the possibility, during the state of epidemic emergency or a state of epidemics, to grant to an employee, at a time designated by them, without obtaining the employee’s consent and bypassing the leave plan, up to 30 days of leave not taken by the employee in previous calendar years, and the employee was obliged to take such leave.
From 1 July this year, there will be a return to the standard rule of granting leave taking into account employees’ leave plans.
Legal basis: Article 15gc of the Covid Act
Return of periodic safety training
During the period of the state of epidemic emergency, it was possible to conduct initial training in occupational health and safety and the service entirely by means of electronic communication, with the exception of position instruction for:
- of an employee employed in a working position;
- an employee employed in a position where there is exposure to hazardous agents;
- a worker transferred to a position referred to in points 1 and 2;
- a pupil undergoing practical vocational training and a student undergoing student training.
In addition, for the duration of the epidemic emergency, the obligation to carry out periodic health and safety training has been suspended.
The end of the state of epidemic emergency means that the obligation to provide initial training on occupational health and safety in a stationary form for all also returns from 1 July this year. In addition, employers will have 60 days to carry out outstanding periodic trainings. Thus, those deferred from between 14 March 2020 and 30 June 2023 – must be completed by 30 August this year at the latest.
Legal basis: article 12e(2) of the Covid Act
Compulsory medical examinations return
The state of epidemic emergency suspended the obligation for periodic medical examinations and introduced the possibility for doctors other than those specialised in occupational medicine to issue certificates authorising work.
The end of the state of epidemic emergency breaks the suspension of these obligations and thus the need for periodic medical examinations for employees returns.
Employers will have 180 days from the end of the state of epidemic emergency to carry out the outstanding examinations. For the period of the aforementioned 180 days, medical certificates that have expired during the pandemic will remain valid.
Legal basis: Articles 12a and 31m of the Covid Act
Prohibition of competition
During the duration of the state of epidemic emergency or an epidemic state declared due to COVID-19, the parties to a non-compete agreement in force after the termination of:
- the employment relationship;
- agency contract;
- a contract of mandate;
- another contract for the provision of services to which, pursuant to the Act of 23 April 1964. – Civil Code, to which the provisions on commission apply;
- a contract for specific work
– for the benefit of which a ban on competitive activity has been established, may terminate it within 7 days.
From 1 July this year, once the state of epidemic emergency has been revoked, the contractual regulations defined between the two parties to the legal relationship in question will apply.
Legal basis: Article 15gf of the Covid Act
Higher severance payments and compensation
During the period in which state of epidemic emergency or a state of epidemics declared due to COVID-19 is in force, if the employer experiences a decrease in economic turnover or a significant increase in the burden on the wage fund, the amount of
- severance pay,
- compensation or
- other cash benefit
– paid by that employer to an employee in connection with the termination of an employment contract, if the regulations provide for the obligation to pay the benefit, may not exceed ten times the minimum wage determined on the basis of the minimum wage regulations.
As of 1 July, this year, there is a return to the previous provisions. The limit for the indicated severance payment in connection with dismissal for so-called economic reasons will therefore again be 15 times the minimum wage.
Legal basis: Art. 15gd of the Covid Act
During the period of state of epidemic emergency or a state of epidemics declared due to COVID-19, if the employer experiences a decrease in economic turnover or a significant increase in the burden on the wage fund, the employer may suspend the obligations:
1) the establishment or operation of the company welfare fund,
2) making a basic allowance,
3) payment of holiday benefits
– referred to in the Act on Company Social Benefits Fund.
As of 1 July, this year, the obligation in question, i.e. the necessity to create the Fund upon fulfilment of the statutory requirements, returns.
Legal basis: Art. 15ge of the Covid Act