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The Warsaw Voice » Law » November 19, 2008
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Law in brief
November 19, 2008   
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Friendlier Audits
The government has prepared draft amendments to the law on economic freedom to make regulations on audits and inspections friendlier to businesses. Although the law on economic freedom adopted a few years ago has strengthened the position of companies vis-a-vis tax auditors and inspectors, companies still complain that some regulations are unnecessarily burdensome and that inspectors often violate their terms, for example failing to meet legally specified deadlines.

If the amendments come into force, auditors and inspectors will have to notify the company about a planned audit or inspection seven days in advance and will have to start the audit or inspection not later than 30 days after the company has been notified.

Auditors and inspectors are to be made personally responsible for auditing or inspecting a company without authorization or for over-reaching their powers, but only if a company has suffered real losses as a result.


Higher Traffic Fines
The government has raised fines for a range of traffic offenses. The fine for parking in places intended for the disabled and for running a red light has been raised to zl.500. Pedestrians will pay zl.100 for jaywalking. Motorists will pay zl.200 for driving without lights at night and zl.100 for driving without lights during the day. The fine for driving without lights in a tunnel will be raised from zl.100 to zl.200. Additionally, a motorist who does not keep the required distance of five meters from other cars when stopping in a tunnel due to a traffic jam or any other reason will pay a fine of zl.100.


Tougher Rules for Farmers
Farmers who flout European rules face having their direct EU subsidies cut under an amendment adopted by the government.

The draft divides EU requirements into three groups. Farmers are expected to meet them gradually. Next year, they will have to adjust their farms to environmental regulations and rules on the registration and identification of farm animals. A farmer who fails to do so will have his or her direct payments cut. The scale of the reduction will depend on whether the farmer is judged to have done so deliberately or unintentionally.


EU Criticizes VAT on Small Aircraft
Brussels has criticized Poland for imposing its highest VAT rate on small aircraft weighing up to 12 tonnes, after Polish aviation companies, including leasing firms and small air carriers, lodged a complaint with the European Commission.

Under Polish law, buyers and importers of such small planes are required to pay 22 percent VAT, irrespective of whether the aircraft is intended for commercial or private use. Meanwhile, under EU law, the criterion used to determine the VAT rate is the purpose of the aircraft rather than its weight. Polish small carriers argue that the regulations here favor large airlines and undermine competition. EU law also allows for VAT exemptions on planes to be used on international flights. The EU regulations make no reference to weight.

The number of small planes flying in Poland has been increasing every year. They cost from around 500,000 euros to more than 10 million euros. To avoid high taxes, many carriers register their planes in Denmark or Ireland where the VAT rate on small planes is zero. This, however, makes it difficult for them to receive funding from Polish banks.


Humanitarian Law on the Internet
People interested in international humanitarian law can visit the website of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement at www.icrc.org. The organizations provide relief to victims of war.

The website provides free access to extensive resources related to humanitarian law. It contains updated information on humanitarian law and a list of tabs which enable access to further materials. A database of humanitarian law sources can be found under "treaties and customary law."
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