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Obligation of electronic excise records not before 2023

As we read in the announcement published on the website of the Ministry of Finance published on 3 November 2020, the commencement of keeping electronic records of excise goods will be postponed until 2023. It is worth mentioning that on 29 October 2021, the polish parliament passed an act amending the act on excise tax and some other acts (hereinafter: the Amendment), pursuant to which a new deadline for the obligation to maintain electronic records and other documentation on excise goods and excise tax marks is introduced only from 1 January 2023.

This delay is explained by the situation with the epidemic and the need for business to adapt to the new obligation, which may be an additional burden for them.

According to the Senate website, the bill will now be proceeded with by that authority under the number 559.

It is worth mentioning that the changes in excise duty result primarily from the need to implement EU documents such as Council Directive (EU) 2020/262 of 19 December 2019 laying down general principles on excise duty, the so-called ‘Horizontal Directive’, Council Directive (EU) 2020/1151 of 29 July 2020 amending Directive 92/83/EEC on the harmonization of the structures of excise duties on alcohol and alcoholic beverages, the so-called ‘Alcohol Directive’, and Council Directive (EU) 2019/2235 of 16 December 2019 amending Directive 2006/112/EC on the common system of value added tax and Directive 2008/118/EC concerning the general arrangements for excise duty as regards defense activities within the Union.

How is it now?

Pursuant to the currently effective Article 138p (1) of the Excise Duty Act, records and other documentation are maintained in paper and electronic form. At the same time, excise records in electronic from were originally to be obligatory from 1 January 2022.

However, this date was subject to change as a result of the wording of the new Article 39 point 6 introduced by the Amendment, according to which keeping records referred to in Article 138a-138l and Article 138o exclusively in electronic form is to be mandatory for certain entities only as from 1 January 2023. This means that it is still possible to keep excise records in paper form by entities which have so far kept records in this form.

Who is affected by the Amendment?

Let us to remained that Project focuses on implementation of new rules for keeping records by taxpayers – only in a electronic form. As follows from the above=mentioned Articles 138a-138l and 138o of the VAT Act, the obligation to keep electronic records will apply to entities which operate a tax warehouse, have the status of registered consignors, have the status of registered consignees, make intra-Community acquisitions of excise goods, keep records of control over the production, trade in and consumption of ethyl alcohol, have the status of intermediary entity, have the status of consumer entity, who in the course of their activities consume goods exempted due to their intended use, keep records of dried tobacco, have the status of excise taxpayer on electricity, have the status of coal intermediary entities and gas intermediary entities.

What should be taken into account in electronic records?

In order to specify the conditions and obligations which the records (both paper and electronic) should contain, reference should be made to the Regulation of the Minister of Finance of 11 June 2021 on records and other documentation relating to excise goods and excise stamps (hereinafter: the Regulation).

The most important issues which an entrepreneur should bear in mind when creating a recording tool are set out in §7 (2) of the Ordinance, according the which the records should be kept in accordance with a written instruction manual for the computer program used to keep the records in such a way that it is possible:

  • the content of the entities made and the protection of data storage against distortion or loss;
  • to generate and print out, in chronological order: (i) entries in the records; (ii) summaries of the data specified by the Act and a summary of the quantities of excise goods, incl. dried tobacco and tax stamps, respectively; (iii) reports;
  • deleting of entries.

It is worth adding that the Ordinance also introduces detailed ranges of data which should be contained in the records of excise goods in tax warehouses, dispatched under the excise duty  suspension arrangement, purchased intra-Community, delivered in the territory of the country by the vender through a tax representative, commercial documents or excise goods exempt from excise duty due to their destination. Thus, depending on the specific nature of the activities of the entrepreneur, different rules for keeping records will apply. Therefore, it should be verified what obligations and data subject should actually be applied by a taxpayer who has such an obligation in the light of the aforementioned regulations, because only records in such a form will be acceptable.

Finally, it should be added that a delay in keeping records in electronic form will certainly give entrepreneur who will be obliged to implement the new regulations an opportunity to improve that tool and prepare excise duty changes. Entrepreneurs will gain more time to develop a tool that will be fully integrated with the company’s financial and accounting system and will allow them to develop a more IT-based solution. However, it is worth mentioning that  entrepreneurs can already implement electronic recording in their enterprise. Introducing such a possibility earlier will protect entrepreneurs from possible consequences related to delays before 2023 or possible lack of detailed data. We therefore encourage the development of such a possibility already a little earlier than before 2023 itself.