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Tax forms of support for ecological activities

All forms of support for ecological activities can be an incentive for communities to educate themselves or to promote activities that are less harmful to the environment. Attempts to support environmental policy by the government are sometimes promoted. An example that can be used is that on 16 July 2020, the Council of Ministers included the ‘National Ecological Policy 2030’, the main objective of which is to develop the potential of the environment for the benefit of citizens and entrepreneurs, including building an economic strategy for the environment and water management.

The proposed adopted mechanism, which is the foundation of the environmental protection and development policy, is divided into several detailed areas, in which a several-level focus on the factors building the so-called ‘ecological policy’ is distinguished. The first distinction is the desire to improve and quality of the environment with the support of ecological safety, building sustainable management of environmental resources, actions to mitigate climate change and importantly, raising awareness of the public’s environmental attitudes or improving environmental protection efficiency.

Observations show that supportive actions offered by the government to the public often translate into long-term actions. This means that when government presents various forms of tax incentives, they may induce citizens to explore such solutions in the future period. For example, ecological tax credits, broadly defined, have the potential to support the development of the area, as well as encourage potential beneficiaries to educate themselves on the issue. A good example that can be used here is the themo-modernisation tax relief, which is intended to promote more environmentally friendly solutions by means of effective improvement of citizens’ buildings, which will gradually promote low-emission or renewable optimum solutions.

Thermomodernisation tax relief

What is meant by thermomodernisation? The term is in itself a very broad concept. However, it is worth adding that in the Annex to the Regulation of the Minister of Investment and Development of 29 December 2018 (Journal of Laws 2018 item 2389) lists a number of specific types of building materials, equipment and services related to the implementation of thermomodernisation projects that fall within the scope of the relief. Examples of a few of these include:

  • building materials used to insulate building partitions, balcony slabs and foundations,
  • heating knots,
  • boilers, gas and oil tanks, collectors, pumps, photovoltaic cells,
  • window and door joinery,
  • services (energy audit, design documentation replacement, installation of boiler and appliances).

Whom does the relief apply to and what can be deducted?

The provision of Article 26h of the Act of 26 July 1991 on income tax from natural persons lists the entities which may take advantage of the thermomodernisation relief.

According to this provision, it is available to persons who are owners or co-owners of single-family residential buildings and are planning to improve the building by minimizing the degree of insulation or water heating, as well as to taxpayers who are implementing a change to renewable sources.

As far as the tax relief itself is concerned, it should be pointed out that it consist in the deduction from the tax base of the expenses which were incurred for the above-mentioned thermomodernisation measures. However, it should be emphasized that the amount of the deduction is limited to PLN 53.000. What is important, the deduction can be made in the tax return for the year in which the expense was incurred. However, the value of the deduction not included in the taxpayer’s income in a given tax year may be deducted in subsequent years (provided that a 6-year deadline is observed, counting from the tax year in which the expense was actually incurred).

The ‘Clean Air’ programme

It is worth mentioning that as part of the thermomodernisation allowance, it is also possible to settle the Clean Air programme, whose main objective is to improve air quality and minimize greenhouse gas emissions.

The Clean Air programme promotes the replacement of energy sources and makes every effort to improve the energy efficiency of buildings by offering subsidies for the replacement of outdated cookers with more efficient energy sources which, by existing standards, are expected to meet correct emissions. The subsidy from which taxpayers can benefit is up to PLN 30.000 and PLN 37.000 depending on the level of subsidy.

The above example of the government’s proposed tax form of support for ecological activities can undoubtedly be an effective way to promote activities supporting the improvement of air quality. In order to achieve a delightful result, it is necessary for the inhabitants to reduce the number of obsolete heat sources and carry out insulation of their buildings so as to actually contribute to minimization of greenhouse gas emissions.

The relief and government programme presented above is only an example of such a form of action. It is worth that there were more and more such proecological activities, because they can encourage the society to use such possibilities.