The year 2022 is undoubtedly the most revolutionary one so far when it comes to changes in the law. However, 2023 is a real madness in terms of the number of amendments necessary to adopt. Not only by entrepreneurs or legal counsellors but also by the rest of the people. After all, everyone has to deal with the law, whether they like it or not. Below, we present 7 of the most important changes in Polish law in 2023.
Table of Contents
- 1. Polish Family Foundation
- 2. Class actions filed by consumer organisations
- 3. Tax changes
- 4. Changes in local taxes
- 5. Great reform in criminal law
- 6. Changes in labour law
- 7. The Omnibus Directive
1. Polish Family Foundation
Passing a company from generation to generation is undoubtedly a beautiful and valuable practice. The Act on Family Foundation adopted on 14 December in the Sejm encourages just that! Conducting family business for generations. The family foundation will serve as an effective succession tool. Especially for medium and large family businesses. It will be able to conduct business activity, but only to a certain extent, e.g. renting real estate or running a farm. Taking into account tax aspects, the foundation will be subjectively exempt from CIT. In addition, funds obtained from the foundation by the founder and his immediate family, i.e. spouse, children, etc. will be exempt from PIT. These regulations will probably come into force in May this year.
2. Class actions filed by consumer organisations
With the new year, consumers gain a new mechanism to fight for their rights. The bill provides for the possibility of bringing class actions against entrepreneurs. So far, the collective interests of consumers have only been taken care of by UOKiK. The UOKiK is a Polish abbreviation that stands for Urząd Ochrony Konkurencji i Konsumenta. It can be translated as the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection. With the introduction of the new rules, the situation will change in favour of consumers.
3. Tax changes
We have been hearing about the Polish Deal for a long time. Some of its provisions already apply, but some of them will come into force only this year. From the 1st of January 2023, VAT on gas, fuel, heat and electricity returned to the 23% rate. The new year also brought new rules related to the tax-free amount. Changes also affect the possibility of settling private rentals only in the form of a lump sum. Entrepreneurs will be able to change (exceptionally!) the form of taxation also during the year. And speaking of tax settlements – from the 1st of January 2023, the time for submitting PIT-28 has been extended.
4. Changes in local taxes
Due to the increase in the prices of some products, taxes have also increased. This is what happened, for example, in the case of the agricultural tax. Because tax rates depend on the average price of rye purchase for the 11 quarters before the quarter preceding the tax year, and rye prices have increased – the same happened with taxes. The forest tax, related to the increase in the price of wood, has also increased. In addition, the tax on residential buildings, which is paid by everyone, increased from 0.89 to 1 PLN per square meter. Dog owners will also face higher costs, because the charge for owning a dog will now be PLN 150.93 PLN per year. In addition, the fee for staying in a place with the status of a health resort protection area increased from 3.52 to 3.94 PLN per day. The tourist tax – from 4.83 to 5.40 PLN per day.
5. Great reform in criminal law
The year 2023 brings also a great reform of criminal law. The most important changes include:
- Flexible penalties, i.e. the possibility for the court to impose a flexible sentence. This means up to 30 years imprisonment and life imprisonment, rather than up to 15 years’ imprisonment, a separate sentence of 25 years in prison and life imprisonment.
- Introduction of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
- Extension from 25 to 30 years of the period after which those sentenced to life imprisonment can apply for parole.
- Longer probation period when considering parole from life imprisonment. Instead of 10 years, it will be for a lifetime.
- Extension of statute of limitations to prosecute for murder – from 30 to 40 years
- Tougher sanctions for pedophilia and other serious sexual offences.
- Introducing new types of aggravated sexual assaults, e.g. on a pregnant woman.
- Restriction of the severity against repeat offenders. Extraordinary severity of the penalty will be applicable. Namely, the lower limit of imprisonment period will be increased by half. In the case of misdemeanors – also the upper limit will be increased by half.
- Increasing the lower limit of imprisonment for multi-recidivist offenders.
- Stricter parole rules for repeat offenders.
- Exclusion of the statute of limitations for punishing the crime of rape of a child or rape with particular cruelty.
- Increasing penalties for serious crimes against life and health.
- Introduction of new types of offences for acts that were partly unpunishable. For example, acceptance of a murder order.
- Confiscation of a drunk driver’s car. A drunk driver who will have not less than 1.5 per mille of alcohol in the blood, will lose the car, regardless of whether he caused a road accident or not.
6. Changes in labour law
2023 will be a breakthrough year for employees who perform their work remotely. Finally, regulations regarding the possibility of working in this mode are included in the Labor Code. The minimum wage has also increased. ZUS contributions will also change.
7. The Omnibus Directive
On 1 January 2023, important changes to consumer law also came into force, implementing three EU directives. These include the Sale of Goods Directive, the Digital Service Directive and the Omnibus Directive. They impose a number of new obligations on entrepreneurs concluding contracts with consumers. These are both information obligations and new consumer protection instruments. They concern online and partly stationary sales. The warranty regulation has also changed – the warranty for physical defects will be replaced by the non-compliance of the sold item with the contract. Entrepreneurs running their online store will also be forced to update the applicable regulations or introduce additional markings. For example, those regarding the lowest price of the product from the last 30 days. If you are interested in this article and need to explore the subject of changes that may affect your company, please contact us. Our specialists are at your disposal.