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The Warsaw Voice » Law » November 5, 2008
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Law in brief
November 5, 2008   
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Cutting Red Tape
The Economy Ministry is planning to cut red tape for companies by 25 percent over the next two years. The idea comes from the European Council, which has told the European Commission to cut the administrative burden in the EU by a quarter. EU member states have until 2012 to carry this out.

"I believe this is possible to achieve by 2010," said Poland's deputy prime minister and economy minister Waldemar Pawlak, adding the changes could only benefit the Polish economy. Pawlak identified regulations in the following areas as those which put the heaviest burden on Polish enterprises: environmental protection, urban planning and development, tourist services, labor law, business operations and social security.

Husband Battering Highlighted
The commissioner for civil rights protection has asked the government official in charge of equal rights policy to examine cases of women who physically and mentally abuse men. Non-governmental organizations point out that, despite stereotypes, women abuse their partners as often as men, although women more often resort to mental abuse. Since police tend to gather evidence linked to physical aggression, cases of this kind are sometimes hard to investigate.

Clampdown on Dishonest Ads
The Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) has introduced a new set of rules aimed at clamping down on misleading advertisements by banks, investment funds and insurance companies. The rules require ads to be clear, use comprehensible terminology and, for banks, cite the real annual interest rates on deposits and loans.

The KNF has warned it will penalize companies for dishonest advertising. Maximum penalties will reach zl.1 million for banks, zl.500,000 for investment funds and for insurance companies 0.5 percent of all premiums collected in the preceding year.

Bid to Increase Employment
The lower house of parliament is working on a new set of rules aimed at getting more people into work. One draft amendment authorizes county administrators to grant around zl.20,000 to unemployed people to help them start a business and cover the costs of legal assistance. People unable to find a job for six months will be automatically enrolled on individual "motivation programs." Those who refuse to attend will lose unemployed benefits.

Over the next two years, every municipality in Poland will open an "information point" to make registration at employment offices and online searching for jobs easier.

VAT to Change
The government has adopted draft amendments to regulations on VAT. The changes will shorten from 180 to 60 days the base period for a VAT refund and abolish the 30-percent penalty which VAT payers face if they, for example, understate taxes. The government also wants to abolish the warranty deposit of zl.250,000 required from by newly established enterprises. The amended regulations would allow VAT payers to correct their VAT statements after tax inspection. The draft amendment also raises from zl.5 to zl.10 the limit under which so-called "small gifts" are exempted from VAT.

112 Call Dispute Resolved
Proceedings concerning Poland's infringement of EU regulations on locating people calling the emergency number 112 were discontinued Oct. 21. The European Commission had opened the proceedings in December 2006 after it became evident the number was not reachable from cell phones. Last July, Polish authorities advised the Commission the problem had been resolved and 112 was now available for callers using all kinds of telephones. The Commission subsequently verified the news with all cell phone operators in Poland.
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