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EC Approves Polish Tonnage Tax Scheme

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

22 December 2009


The European Commission on December 18 announced its decision to authorize in Poland a flat-rate tonnage tax regime. The tax regime will enable shipping operators, registered in Poland, not to pay corporation or personal tax but only a flat-rate tax, based on the tonnage of their fleet.

The Polish tonnage tax scheme allows for maritime activities to be eligible for tonnage tax, as well as dredging if at least 50% of the operational time of a dredger constitutes maritime transport (i.e. direct transport of freight and/or passengers). In addition, the Commission accepted the inclusion of towage activities in this scheme, but only on the condition that at least 50% of the operational time of a tugboat is dedicated to maritime transport activities.

The Commission also approved the inclusion in the scheme of management activities, since they fulfill all the requirements of the new Guidelines on State aid to ship management companies.

The Commission considers that the ring-fencing measures put in place as sufficient in order to avoid any possible "spill-over" between activities eligible and non-eligible for tonnage tax, as well as between companies from the same group that are tonnage tax beneficiaries and those that are not.

In its decision, the Commission considered that the scheme is compatible with the internal market and can contribute to the Community's interests in the field of maritime policy.

It is likely that the approved scheme will be applied from January 1, 2011.


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