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The Warsaw Voice » Law » June 17, 2009
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Law in brief
June 17, 2009   
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Tax Return Rules Favorable for Foreigners
EU citizens employed in Poland will be able to settle their tax accounts jointly with either their spouse or child, under an amendment to the law on personal income tax (PIT). The right will benefit both married couples and single parents who have unlimited tax liability in another member country of the EU, the European Economic Area or Switzerland.

The preferential PIT regulations are only applicable to those who earn 75 percent of their total revenue in Poland. The threshold is rather high, but in some EU countries it reaches 90 percent. Foreigners also must present a certificate of unlimited tax liability in their respective country of residence. The rules that are applied to EU citizens who are single parents are similar: if single parents are not Polish residents but earn 75 percent of their income here, they may settle their accounts with the tax office jointly with the child.

Tax Office to Track Down Online Tax Dodgers
Under an amendment to the law on tax inspection, which had its first reading in the Polish Sejm May 8, tax authorities would have easier access to the personal data of e-traders who avoid paying taxes.

Under the new regulations, if passed, banks will assist in establishing the identity of tax dodgers. They will provide data regarding an account's owner if the auditor or inspector has suitable cause to suspect that the account is being used for business operations unreported to the tax office or other irregularities.

In addition, internet page owners will be obligated to disclose data that would enable identification of individuals who place advertisements with them that attract the attention of the tax office.

Regulating GMO
It should be a legal requirement to reveal and mark genetically modified organisms in food products, the Polish ombudsman says. He also said GMO should be registered and their crops controlled.

Poland's Act on GMO of 2001 has many significant loopholes, and EU legislation fails to cover them. The Supreme Chamber of Control (NIK), the top auditing body, reported last year that there was no strategy to ensure safety to people and the environment and that the system of inspection and control over GMO allowed into the natural environment was incomplete and ineffective.

The Environment Ministry believes that only the passage of a new law, supplemented by ministerial regulations to apply it, can enable it to work out a national strategy for biological safety. The ministry's spokesman says that it is necessary to introduce immediately the requirement to reveal and mark GMO ingredients in food products and to register GMO crops in Poland, as already is the case with respect to genetically modified fodder.

Passports With Fingerprints
Passports issued as of the end of June will include two fingerprints taken from both hands. New biometric data, including fingerprints, may only be used to verify the authenticity of the document and the identity of their holder, the European Commission ordered recently. This ruling is binding for all European Union member countries introducing security measures in passports.

The present biometric passport, issued in Poland for the past three years, features a microprocessor with a digital picture of the holder's face.

Entrepreneurs to Monitor Law Changes
A Legislation Monitoring Center has been set up at the Confederation of Polish Employers (KPP) whose task will be to accumulate information concerning bills important for the business community to be considered by the parliament. The center will also help businesspeople take part in the lawmaking process through submitting remarks, reservations and suggestions on new legislation.

Part of the venture is an internet service that will enable firms to obtain updated information concerning draft regulations and get in touch with the center.

The center seeks to create a database as well as a platform for the exchange of law-related ideas. The online address of the center is www.cml.kpp.org.pl. Access to the service is free and available to all.
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