Guide to doing business in Poland
Poland is the largest country in Central–Eastern Europe and one of the fastest–growing economies in the European Union. Household consumption, fuelled by expected increases in budgetary expenditures and rising wages, continues to grow.
Polish business potential in numbers:
- Population: 38.2 million (EU’s 5th highest)
- Area: 302,000 km2 (6th largest in EU)
- GDP growth rate: 3.5% (2021 IMF forecast)
- GDP per capita: USD 36,100
- FDI value: more than EUR 8.5 billion in 2020 alone
and Investment Potential
Healthy public finances and long–term reliability. Poland was the only country in the EU which avoided recession in 2007-2009 and public finances are in much better shape than the European Union average.
Political stability and international relations
Poland belongs to the European Union, NATO, the World Trade Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and many more international organizations.
Poland is considered to be one of the most economically stable and fastest developing countries in the world.
According to the International Monetary Fund, since 1981, the GDP per capita in Poland has increased more than nine-fold.
A business-friendly environment
A high score in the Ease of doing business index means the regulatory environment in Poland is more conducive to the starting and running of a local firm.
Companies investing anywhere in the country can count on generous exemptions from corporate income tax. The decision to grant such an exemption is taken after meeting certain criteria, with the period of exemption from being usually from 10 to 15 years, and is the longest income tax exemption period available for companies in the entire CEE region.
Support from the European Union
Poland has been a member of the European Union since 2004, with EU membership providing one of the most important guarantees of stability across the legal and administrative spheres. The foundation of the Polish economy is the single market, free trade and the free movement of citizens and the common agricultural policy.
Poland is the largest beneficiary of EU financial programmes. A large part of these funds goes to companies that are working to increase the innovation of our economy.
Poland – the heart of Europe
Poland’s convenient location, in the very centre of Europe, makes the country a perfect investment destination for enterprises targeting both Western and Eastern part of the continent. From Warsaw it takes only several hours either by car, train or plain to reach a number of Europe’s major capital cities.
Transport investments are possible largely thanks to the cooperation between national roads’ directorates and local governments of the neighbouring countries and with a substantial help of funds and subsidies from the EU. Communication hubs have become centres where various types of means of transport interlace. Development of the country’s road infrastructure is one of the Polish administration’s priorities.
One of the elements that undoubtedly highlights the convenience of the country’s geographical position and benefits resulting from the location is the access to the Baltic Sea. Poland has four major ports which are located in Gdańsk, Gdynia, Świnoujście and Szczecin as well as several local ports supporting the freight reloading processes.
Central Transport Hub
for the Republic of Poland
Solidarity Transport Hub Poland is a planned transfer hub between Warsaw and Łódź, which will integrate air, rail and road transport. The development envisages the construction of Solidarity Airport located 37 km west of Warsaw and covering the space of 3,000 ha. During the first stage, the airport will handle 45 million passengers a year. STH will include railway investments: railway nod in the airport’s close vicinity as well as connections within Poland enabling transfer between Warsaw and the largest Polish cities in less than 2.5 hours.
The Polish R&D sector is growing every year, attracting global investors such as Google or Microsoft, mainly due to local highly-developed specialist personnel. 44% of young adults in Poland received higher education with Poland being coming 14th place the Pearson report on EU education levels.
What makes the Polish higher-education system stand out is the large number of students majoring in STEM faculties (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
students studying engineering
students studying subjects related to economics
foreign students studying in Poland
Large Domestic Market
Poland is the sixth largest economy in Europe and the largest in the CEE region – the country’s nominal GDP in 2019 was EUR 527 billion. The population of Poland of approx. 38 million, accounting for about one quarter of the 150 million citizens in the CEE region. Poland’s significant domestic market fuelled by the rapidly growing purchasing power presents a superb opportunity for foreign investors from a variety of sectors. Increase in internal demand and consumption is one of many factors which have safeguarded Poland against the severe consequences of economic slowdown, which other member states have faced in recent years.
Expertise in Many Sectors of Industry
A wide range of manufacturing, service and agricultural companies attracts investors from various sectors such as automotive, aviation, food processing, electronics and finance.
Business Services Sector
There are 95 Fortune Global 500 investors in the Polish Business Services Sector.
Poland is the sixth-largest producer of automotive vehicles in Europe.
FCA, Volkswagen, Opel, Toyota and Daimler all have production plants in Poland.
Renewable Energy Sector
Development of the renewable energy sector is one of the priorities for the Polish government. Photovoltaics (PV) is one of the fastest growing segments of the renewable energy sector in Poland.
The Polish gamedev, i.e. the gaming industry, consists of over 440 companies employing a total of 9,700 people.The most important Polish companies in the industry include production studios such as: CD Projekt Red, Techland, CI Games, 11 bit studios, PlayWay, Ten Square Games, Farm 51, Vivid Games and Bloober Team.
Poland boasts a 100-year history of aviation, and over 80 years of aerospace industry tradition. Currently, the Polish aerospace industry has a rich export offer of advanced aviation products. Almost every passenger aircraft in the world features at least one component that has been produced in Poland.
How we can help
Tax regulations are the most frequently amended legislation. This has been the case for a long time, but the scale and speed of recent changes are unprecedented. However, the direction of the changes is unclear. On the one hand, we are experiencing a clear tightening of regulations by the tax authorities, but on the other, new preferences for taxpayers are emerging.
We assist entrepreneurs running a business in Poland in meeting their administrative obligations imposed on them by law, at all stages of their business activities. Among others, we help our Clients in registering a company or a branch in Poland. Our team of tax advisors, auditors and lawyers, using its extensive experience in legal services for businesses, provides comprehensive advice on domestic and international taxation, including tax optimization issues, as well as accounting. Our assistance encompasses every aspect of the Polish tax system:
- direct taxes (including: corporate income tax, personal income tax, tax on civil law transactions and real estate tax);
- indirect taxes (including customs and excise duties as well as VAT, i.e. value added tax on goods and services).
We also support companies in transfer pricing documentation as well as in dispute resolution proceedings before the tax authorities and courts.
The Polish labour market, although changed by the COVID-19, may be still considered attractive for the investors, as it offers skilled workers and relatively low costs of work.
The outflow of specialists, deciding to work abroad and choosing other European labour markets offering more attractive wages has been significantly slowed down by the pandemic.
The labour costs in Poland are rising, but their level is still competitive with the level of wages in other European countries.
We offer comprehensive legal assistance with respect to the global mobility of employees and immigration. We provide a practical, full scope assistance as necessary to legalize stay and work in Poland (e.g. to obtain work permits, visas and residence permits), including in particular completing appropriate applications, collecting necessary attachments and liaising with the public authorities in order to assure a smooth process in obtaining the necessary permits.
Our assistance covers also tax and social security issues.
In 2021 the Polish real estate market is projected to claw back the losses caused by the global pandemic.
Increasing interest in logistics and warehouse projects and investments is being fuelled by the booming e-commerce sector.
We are seeing a growing interest in sale & leaseback transactions, allowing companies to release funds tied up in freehold property.
Another noteworthy trend is the Polish government’s assertion on returning to regulations concerning REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts). This legislation would trigger new investment opportunities on the real estate market in Poland.
Technology is boldly entering the commercial property market, contributing to the development of so-called smart buildings.
Having the commitment, resources and know-how, we support our clients to meet specific requirements resulting from Polish legal regulations, such as:
- all matters concerning the operation of real estate in the surrounding legal reality of planning and construction regulations;
- acquisition of real estate (e.g. by foreigners, sale of agricultural and forestry land, special economic zones, protected environmental areas);
- drafting of all transaction documents, purchase agreements;
- perpetual usufruct, reprivatisation issues.
For several years Poland has been among the leaders of M&A transactions in the CEE region – both in terms of value and number of deals.
In spite of the global pandemic, in 2020, M&A transactions on the Polish market have increased by 27 percent compared to the previous year. This trend proves that Poland is still a highly attractive market for foreign investors, particularly in sectors such as IT, financial services, renewable energy and logistics
We provide comprehensive advice on M&A and private equity matters. We have extensive experience in advising both on the most noteworthy local and cross-border transactions, and on smaller but often complex projects. Our assistance covers in particular:
- identification of optimal form(s) of your business presence in Poland, taking into account particularly given business model, corporate and tax aspects;
- assistance on setting up all forms of business entities or provision of a tailored shelf company;
- preparation and implementation of corporate governance rules for a Polish entity or adjustment of such rules to given group standards;
- assistance on day-to-day corporate requirements, particularly those related to the annual and/or periodic reporting obligations or updates of data in relevant public registers;
- provision of legal inventory comprising basic corporate requirements in Poland, monitoring changes in the law and prepare update reports accordingly.
Businesses are experiencing dynamic growth in digital transformation through investment in innovations which streamline operations, boost performance, and expand their business prospects.
At the same time, the European and domestic regulatory environment is struggling to keep up with the booming technology sector. New provisions of the Digital Finance Package and the e-privacy directive are likely to change the regulatory framework for the technology sector, so it’s becoming critical to have up to date, expert legal advice to safeguard your business.
At Kochański & Partners we take an innovative approach assisting businesses to use state-of-the-art technologies in a safe, cost- and time-effective manner.
The ever-expanding list of regulations and provisions applicable to companies, particularly those relating to the liability of management board members, requires constant monitoring of internal procedures and adjusting them to the increasingly complex legal environment. Running a business as a commercial company involves many risks. Regulation alone is not enough – compliance with the law is equally important. The regulatory framework is constantly evolving across different sectors. As transparency and compliance requirements become more important, companies must adapt to increasing pressure from regulators.
Our multidisciplinary team of lawyers, tax advisors and consultants advises on how to best achieve the highest standards of compliance and security in business transactions, in both the domestic and international markets.