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Poland: Sugar tax, alcohol and food measures included in legislation

Poland: Sugar tax, alcohol and food measures

Poland's parliament on 14 February 2020 passed legislation to promote healthy consumer choices and that, with these goals, would impose an additional “fee”—a sugar tax—on beverages containing substances used for their sweetening properties, caffeine, and taurine and also would target alcoholic drinks of up to 300 ml in volume with an increased “fee.”


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Other measures are intended to address “food waste” and to extend the terms of statutory warranty provisions under the civil law rules.

The legislation has been introduced to the Polish Senate. If enacted, the new provisions would be effective 1 April 2020.

Sugar tax fee

The legislation is intended to impose additional fees on beverages containing sugars and other substances used for their sweetening properties, as well as caffeine and/or taurine in products ready for use. In principle, the fee would be imposed on entities placing on the domestic market beverages containing:

  • Sugars (monosaccharides and/or disaccharides) or foodstuffs containing these substances, including substances used for their sweeting properties, as per Regulation (EC) No. 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on food additives
  • Caffeine or taurine

The term “placing goods on the domestic market” is defined to mean selling beverages to the first point where retail sales take place or the very fact of carrying out retail sales of beverages by the producer as well as sales of beverages to an entity involved with both retail and wholesale trade.

The sugar tax imposed would depend on the sugar content in 100 ml of product because the sugar tax fee would have both a fixed and variable component. The new sugar tax would not apply to certain beverages such as:

  • Medical devices
  • Dietary supplements
  • Food for special medical purposes, infant formulas and follow-on formulas
  • Excise goods
  • Beverages in which the mass proportion of fruit, vegetable or fruit/vegetable juice constitutes not less than 20% of ingredients, and in which the sugar content is less than or equal to 5 g per 100 ml of beverage (i.e., beverages that meet both conditions relating to juice and sugar content simultaneously)
  • Carbohydrate electrolyte drinks, in which the content of sugars is lower or equal to 5 g per 100 ml of beverage

Those subject to the sugar tax fee would include natural persons, legal persons, and organizational units. In principle, payers of the sugar tax would be required to provide the head of the tax office with an electronic statement containing, inter alia, information on the entity obliged to pay the fee; the amount of the fee; and data about the number of litres of beverages subject to the sugar tax. The tax would have to be remitted by the 25th day of the month following the month to which the statement is submitted to the head of the tax office.

Amendments related to alcoholic beverages

Additional fees on sales of alcoholic beverages of up to 300 ml in volume are also introduced in the legislation. The amended provisions would provide that the additional fee may be added to the fee for the license for the wholesale trade in alcoholic beverages paid by the entrepreneur supplying an entrepreneur holding a license for the retail sale of alcoholic beverages. The fee would be PLN 25 for each litre of 100% alcohol sold in packages of up to 300 ml in volume. In principle, the obligation to pay the fee would arise when the alcohol beverages sold in packages of up to 300 ml in volume are supplied. 

Food waste

Under the provision intended to address food waste, entrepreneurs acting as food business operators would be required to:

  • Enter into an agreement with a non-governmental organization for food transfer
  • Conduct educational and informational campaigns on rational management of food and prevention of food waste at the outlet
  • Pay charges for wasting food
  • File an annual report on food waste

The fee imposed on the food sellers would be calculated by the end of the calendar year as the product of the rate of the fee and the weight of food wasted. These provisions generally would be effective 1 March 2020.

Extension of legal protection under statutory warranties

Another measure would amend certain laws to reduce regulatory burdens and extend statutory warranty against product defects.

Effective 1 June 2020, natural persons who are self-employed sole traders would be allowed certain protections when interpreting contract templates and when exercising statutory warranty rights. The content of the new provision explicitly indicates that such persons would be covered with consumer provisions regarding the ban on the use of prohibited contractual clauses and the rights arising from the statutory warranty against defects.

Read a February 2020 report [PDF 256 KB] prepared by the KPMG member firm in Poland

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