Split payment (SP) – the basics

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Obligatory split payment as of 1 November 2019

Split payment (SP) mechanism may be used voluntarily already. It was to be compulsory for some goods and services as of 1 September 2019. However, on 9 August 2019 amended Act on Goods and Services Tax was adopted. It set a new effective date of the rules on the obligation to make payments using the split payment (SP) mechanism. The President signed the Act and the start date of obligatory split payment was postponed to 1 November 2019.

What will change on that date?

Transactions subject to the obligatory split payment 

The obligation to use split payment method will not apply to all transactions, but only those that will meet certain criteria jointly:

  1. when gross value of the transaction is at least PLN 15,000.00, regardless of the number and value of individual payments; and
  2. when the transaction concerns goods or services specified in the schedule to the Act (including: fuels, steel, steel products, coal, silver, gold, platinum, investment gold, aluminium, lead, zinc, copper, jewellery, electric machinery and equipment, computers, tablets, smart phones, consoles, HDDs and SDDs, television sets, cameras, car and motorcycle parts, waste and recycled materials of various types, construction services).

In other transactions (i.e. lower value or not included in the list in Schedule 4 to the Act) use of split payment will be still voluntary.

How to issue an invoice considering split payment?

Invoices issued for transactions subject to split payment obligation are to include in addition to standard obligatory information the following phrase: “split payment mechanism”. This is a clear message to the customer that payment in this transaction should be made in the form of split payment.

Non-compliance with that obligation may result in the assessment of additional tax at 30% of the tax due for the transaction (i.e. 30% of VAT value at the rate applicable to the given transaction), unless, despite the invoice not containing the phrase: “split payment mechanism”, the customer will use split payment anyway.

Change of the model of split payment application

Additionally, the amendment also introduces other changes and the main ones include:

  1. option to use funds in the special VAT account not just to pay VAT and VAT in invoices from suppliers, but also other liabilities such as:
    1. income tax;
    2. excise duty;
    3. customs duties;
    4. import VAT;
    5. social insurance contributions;
  2. paying advances before invoice is issued also in the form of split payments;
  3. option to include amounts due under more than one invoice in one split payment instruction.

Overview

The effective date of the rules on obligatory use of split payment mechanism has been postponed. Funds kept in special VAT account may be allocated to cover other, strictly defined liabilities. This gives more options in the use of those funds. For example, when VAT due is lower than the amount in the special VAT account. New regulations will enter into force two months later. As a consequence market participants have more time to prepare for the implementation of the split payment mechanism.

Author:

Joanna Szumiło, Attorney-at-Law